The pelvic venous syndromes: Analysis of our experience with 57 patients

Anke H. Scultetus, J. Leonel Villavicencio*, David L. Gillespie, Tzu Cheg Kao, Norman M. Rich

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Background: The pelvic venous syndromes comprise a group of poorly understood disorders of the pelvic and gonadal venous circulation. The objective of this paper was to review our experience with the pelvic venous syndromes and, in the light of the current literature, make management recommendations. Materials and Methods: Fifty-seven female patients (age range, 24 to 48 years; mean, 34 years) with symptoms of pelvic pain, dysuria, dysmenorrhea, dyspareunia, and the presence of vulval and pelvic varices were studied. Diagnosis included physical examination, Doppler scan, duplex ultrasound scan, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and retrograde cinevideoangiography. The symptoms were classified as: 1, mild (n = 15); 2, moderately severe (n = 19); and 3, severe (n = 23). Group 1 was treated with sclerotherapy/local excision of vulval varices. Group 2 had gonadal vein resection (GVR; n = 12) and sclerotherapy or gonadal vein coil embolization (GVE; n = 7) and sclerotherapy. Only the incompetent side was treated. Patients in group 3 with isolated hypogastric vein tributary reflux were treated either with hypogastric vein tributaries division (HVTD) or with embolization (HVTE) as the only procedure. Those with combined gonadal and hypogastric vein reflux were treated with HVTE followed by GVR. The follow-up period ranged from 2.5 to 24 years (mean GVR/HVTD, 12.4 years; mean GVE/HVTE, 2.3 years). Pain improvement was assessed with a visual analog scale and through mailed questionnaires (response rate, 100%). Patient results were classified as excellent (asymptomatic), moderate (mild discomfort), or no improvement. Results: In group 1, 12 patients had excellent results and three had moderate results. In group 2, 10 patients treated with GVR had excellent results, one had moderate results, and one had no improvement. Three patients treated with GVE were asymptomatic, and four had no improvement. In group 3, three patients treated with HVTD were asymptomatic and two had no improvement. Five patients treated with HVTE were asymptomatic, and one had no improvement. Of the 12 patients treated with HVTE and GVR, 10 were asymptomatic, one had moderate results, and one had no improvement. Conclusion: Local excision of vulval varices and sclerotherapy were sufficient in patients with mild symptoms. Gonadal vein excision produced better results than GVE. In patients with isolated hypogastric vein reflux, embolization was a better option than surgical treatment. GVR preceded by embolization of the incompetent tributaries of the internal iliac vein was indicated in patients with combined reflux and severe symptoms. Supplemental sclerotherapy of vulval varices is recommended after control of the intrapelvic reflux.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)881-888
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Vascular Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2002
Externally publishedYes


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