Up until the year 2000 we had looked at several different ways of treating this condition – but all of these older methods had major drawbacks or high failure rates. We had tried operating directly on the veins in the pelvis either by open surgery or by Laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery – but these approaches had been traumatic to the patients and had given fairly poor results.
In colaboration with several experts, we decided the best way forwards was to use “Coil Embolisation”. This is an x-ray technique where a needle is put into a vein – and under x-ray control, a thin tube called a catheter is pushed into the vein you wish to treat. When it is the correct place, a metal “coil” is pushed out into the vein.
These coils are not new – they have been used for over 20 years in different areas of the body to block off blood vessels, so we know them to be safe and effective.
For many years they have been used to block off male testicular veins – in the treatment of varicoceles – and there is a lot of experience from some specialist centres over several years in using these in ovarian veins. However, it is not just the coil embolisation that is important – it is how it is done. The coils are placed in position by an interventional radiologist under X-ray control. Most interventional radiology is performed via the groin.