Varicose Veins
from a Pelvic Source

Interventional radiologist performs ultrasound examination of pelvic and thigh veins

Varicose veins most commonly come from an issue with the veins / valves in the legs. However, in some people, they can arise from an issue with the veins in the pelvis.

This condition is closely related to another condition called Pelvic Venous Congestion Syndrome (PVCS) which causes chronic pelvic pain. It’s common for women to suffer from both PVCS and varicose veins from a pelvic source at the same time. The treatment is the same for both conditions.

Pelvic varicose veins are caused by a fault with the valves within the veins in the pelvis. They’re most commonly seen after childbirth but can happen at any age. They’re associated with vulval varicose veins, buttock veins or veins around the perineum. All are common and can be successfully treated with embolisation.

Treatment for Pelvic Varicose Veins

There are two types of treatment for varicose veins from a pelvic source that cause veins in the legs:

1) If the pelvic source is the main cause of the varicose veins in the legs, and there are visible vulval or buttock veins, then pelvic vein embolisation is the best treatment. This will deal with the underlying cause. The visible veins will then need a treatment with foam sclerotherapy as well.

2) If the main issue is with the veins in the legs and there is a small pelvic component, then the visible pelvic veins can be treated with foam sclerotherapy. The legs will subsequently be treated with laser or foam.

What is embolisation?

Embolisation involves a day case procedure under local anaesthetic. It takes approximately one hour and is not painful during the procedure.

A tiny 2mm tube is inserted into a vein at the base of the neck and a wire guided into each of the pelvic veins in turn under x-ray guidance. You shouldn’t feel this as a patient. Each vein within the pelvis is examined by injecting x-ray contrast to assess the flow.

If the veins are flowing back towards the heart, they are normal and left alone. If a vein is refluxing or flowing back down towards the legs and causing varicose veins within the pelvis or the legs, then they are blocked (embolised) using a combination of tiny metal coils and foam. These coils are non-magnetic, so you won’t set off any alarms at airports (we promise!).

Embolisation is a safe, successful procedure that has been used for over 20 years. There are a few risks that include technical failure (very rare) and failure of the treatment to improve the symptoms or veins ( in approximately 15% of cases). All veins can come back and the risk is around 1% per year. The embolic material can be put in the wrong place or move over time (rare) and there is often mild / moderate pelvic discomfort for the first few days post treatment. This is best treated at home with paracetamol and ibuprofen.

Dr Regi has performed over 250 successful pelvic vein embolisation procedures.

Book this procedure

Dr Regi regularly treats clients with varicose veins from a pelvic source and PVCS at the Spire Nottingham Hospital using embolisation.

To book this procedure you can contact the medical secretaries at Spire Nottingham Hospital on 0115 9377 801.