Pelvic pain and dysfunctional uterine bleeding are common conditions from which millions of women suffer. As a highly regarded interventional radiologist, Dr. Gropper offers help and hope to women for two of the most common issues that lead to pelvic pain and dysfunctional bleeding.
Pelvic Congestion Syndrome is a chronic condition where women experience constant and chronic pelvic pain – often manifesting as a dull ache that is aggravated by long periods of standing.
The condition occurs due to the development of varicose veins in the pelvic area (lower abdomen and groin). These varicose veins typically appear during pregnancy and continue to progress in size. In Pelvic Congestion Syndrome, the valves of veins that help return blood from the pelvic area to the heart become weakened, resulting in the pooling of blood in the veins of the pelvis, which causes pain.
PCS can be a cause of recurrence of varicose veins in the legs after leg vein treatments.
The preferred treatment for Pelvic Congestion Syndrome is called Ovarian Vein Embolization. The goal of this minimally invasive treatment is to shut down the problematic veins so blood doesn’t collect in the pelvis, thereby relieving pressure and pain.
Dr. Gropper performs the procedure by inserting a thin catheter into the femoral vein located in the groin area. Using fluoroscopic imaging in the cath lab that converts x-rays into real-time video images, Dr. Gropper then guides the catheter to the faulty veins where he uses tiny coils inserted through the catheter to close them off.
One of the most common causes of pelvic pain and bleeding are uterine fibroids, sometimes called “fibroid tumors.” These benign fibroids grow either inside or outside the uterine wall.
Although no one knows what causes fibroids, they do know that the female hormones estrogen and progesterone seem to make them grow.
Not all fibroids cause symptoms, but when they do, these symptoms include:
The recommended treatment for this condition is called Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE), and must be performed by an interventional radiologist. Dr. Gropper performs this procedure in our state-of-the-art cath lab. He places a catheter through a small incision through the femoral artery located in your upper thigh and guides the catheter to the arteries that supply blood to the fibroids using x-ray guidance. He then injects a solution of polyvinyl alcohol particles that close off the targeted arteries and block blood flow to the fibroid.
UFE usually takes between one and two hours, and you will be sent home later that day. Full recovery usually takes about a week.