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Has Anyone Had An Embolization Procedure? Has Anyone Had An Embolization Procedure?

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Unread 10-25-2004, 11:21 AM
Has Anyone Had An Embolization Procedure?

Wondering if anyone has experienced an embolization procedure.

I have just been diagnosed, 6 months post Hysterectomy with a rare complication of severe bilateral varicosities within the vaginal vault angles. I have heard of embolization for uterine arteries and fibroid tumors of the uterus but not for this particular area. Pelvic congestion is another thing that has been mentioned but I do not have the "like" criteria of location. From what we have been told having this on the vaginal vault Post-Hyst is extremely rare.

It may be a missing piece of the puzzle regarding my post-Hysterectomy course and complications. I had a vault hematoma, ongoing vaginal bleeding x months, possible seroma, drainage of fluid, and hypervascularized peritoneum upon surgery. I also had hemorrhages and significant post birth complications that were never truly explained. This "rare" vascular anomoly may explain some of the struggles of the past few months. For that I am thankful. It has been a long road, and the journey for me is ongoing, but I am hopeful that resolution will come and with it clarity and resolve.

I thought perhaps others here may have experienced an Embolization Procedure and could shed some light on this, as we travel through "uncharted waters."

An Interventional Radiologist/Vascular Specialist has been assigned to us and I am to meet with him this week. An embolization is likely to follow within days-week(s).

If you have had an embolization:
~what was it like?
~what did you feel, remember?
~did you have sedation/anesthesia? If so, what was that like?
~pain during and after procedure?
~Recovery? Did you stay in the hospital overnight?
~Anything you can offer about what it was like for you would be most helpful.

Thank you so much.

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Unread 10-25-2004, 12:05 PM
Has Anyone Had An Embolization Procedure?

I did have embolization procedures (2) prior to my January 3, 2004 TAH. I was diagnosed with Pelvic Congestion Syndrome prior to my surgery. I had severe pelvic pain with my menstrual periods and was told a hysterrectomy would be the answer. Prior to the surgery a venogram was performed indicating vericose veins in my abdomen. The veins were the noted as the size of a large thumb. Luckily having the venogram saved my life. The doctors were not sure I would survive abdominal surgery. My first embolization was to decrease the size of the Left Gonadal (spell?) Vein and was performed much like the venogram and insertion of coils and foam into the vein, re-routing the blood flow. The second embolization was for vaginal vericosities and the procedure was performed the same way. I was admitted as an outpatient, the procedure took a few hours under local anesthesia. Once completed, you lay flat on your back for about 3 hours and then you are released to very light activities for a few weeks. I had very much success with the embolization therapy. Without the procedures, I would not have survived the surgery. With an experienced Interventional Radiologist your pain should be minimal, your hospital stay just as an outpatient, your experience will be very much like the venogram you already have had. I, too had a bit of a complication after the hysterectomy, however. I developed an orange sized hematoma on the vaginal cuff - it had to be drained about 4 weeks post-op. The surgeon who performed my TAH was not aware this was happening. Every now and then I get a twinge of abdominal pain, still...but nothing like the Pelvic Congestion Syndrome prior to embolization. Good luck to you. If you have any further concerns, perhaps we can chat further. I'll check your posting and see how you are doing. In the meantime what are your symptoms now? Just curious - I'm always trying to stay aware of "funny" pains and aches just to monitor my condition. What is vault hematoma? Can you explain your symptoms? I have a constant pain - lower left side - sometimes hurts worse than others when bearing down.....
Unread 10-25-2004, 01:08 PM
In Reply

Thank you so much...your post truly makes such a difference. I really do feel that I along with my doctor(s) am in uncharted waters. I am thankful that I do have a very skilled and well respected Interventional Radiologist.

My symptoms right now are very severe pelvic pain, radiating into my buttocks and lower back. I am small in stature, and weight, but have continued to loose 17 lbs since my Hysterectomy due to associated nausea and vomiting. I have severe pain in both legs. I feel at times like I am 3-4x the size I am because of pressue symptoms. It can get as intense as feeling asthough I have a child crowning in my pelvis for hours on end. It has been challenging with the full days and long nights. The veins are "clusters" on both sides of the vaginal vault, so they sit just under my hips/pelvic bones. They are on the posterior side, meaning towards the back which contributes to the glute and back pain I experience.

I am the blessed Mom of two very young children ages 1 and 2.5 years and this has been a heartache for me in terms of wanting so much to be the "Mom" that I want to be for them. My Hysterectomy was going to be a blessed new beginning for all of us, but unfortunately there have been some bumps in my journey. I keep hoping though that the embolization if successful will bring me one step closer to healing.

A vaginal vault hematoma, which is what I had in early post-op, is a collection of blood on the vaginal vault (the main incision and closure that is made after the cervix is removed). The hematoma eventually made its way through the vault and caused excessive vaginal bleeding for several weeks. The bleeding then reoccurred at about 3 months post-op.

You mentioned that your embolization was several hours in length and that you received local anesthesia. Did you also have any kind of sedation? I have read that sedation is comomly used. Did you sleep through the procedure at intervals or were you completely awake? What was it like, being in the room, preparations for surgery etc?

Thank you so very much for your kind reply.

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Unread 10-25-2004, 01:45 PM
Has Anyone Had An Embolization Procedure?

First of all, I am praying for you, that you will recover quickly from the pain you are suffering.

Now that you have explained the vaginal vault hematoma, I can relate a bit better. My post surgery "bump-in-the-road" was diagnosed as a hematoma on the vaginal cuff - 4 weeks post-op. My symptoms were severe abdominal pain (which I thought was from the surgery & incision!). I was admitted back in the hospital for four more days and the hematoma was drained under local anesthesia - boy did I feel better when that was over! My pain went away very quickly.

Here is what happened on Embolization Day:
First, I was admitted as an out-patient to Special Procedures in Radiology. An IV was started and I was evaluated by the hospital physician for a pre-op physical. Next they rolled me down the hallway to the Special Procedures Room. There were 4 nurses and my Radiologist (interventional). I was given an injection in my IV to help me relax, and also I was given heavy duty antibiotics so that there was no risk of infection at the site of entry. The staff moved me to a very flat straight and hard stretcher where I laid flat on my back. I was shaved in the groin area. I started getting sleepy from the injection, my heart was monitored and the Doctor was excellent at making sure I was just relaxed enough to be aware of what was going on, but not completely zonked out! I felt some pressure on my left side - the groin area where they were inserting a wire probe. The probe actually goes right through your vein which is monitored on a very big tv screen where the radiologist carefully routes the steel coils into the vein. A foam solution was then injected into that site which hardens near the steel coil forcing the blood to flow into a different traffic pattern. The next thing you know you're waking up from your little snooze and the radiologist is telling you that everything went well. He gave me a sample of the coil and a little card indicating what veins contain the coils. (I have hundreds throughout my abdomen!) I was sent back to the recovery area and was asked to lay flat for 3 hours. This was no problem as you are still very sleepy from the local anesthesia. Once you can get up, you drink a little and eat a little and then you are on your way. I had an excellent nurse who would call me every day and ask my progress. (His name was Joe...I loved him!) I went back in two weeks for a re-check. The progress was slow, but steady! I had this procedure twice. Like I said, once for the Ovarian Gonadal Vein so that I could have my hysterectomy and once for Vaginal Vericosities. The vaginal is still in progress - I still have some swelling and itching but nothing as bad as it was before!

I hope you recover quickly and that the results are as good as the results I have been so fortunate to have had. I am still a bit leary of any type of abdominal pain, now....I didn't know it would take this long to recover from a hysterectomy! I still have swelly belly and some pain but less and less each day.

I hope this helps you...keep us posted!
Unread 10-25-2004, 04:45 PM
In Reply

Wow, can't thank you enough for sharing. It really means so much to hear your story.

It was a great comfort to hear you recall your experience and the positive aspects of it. It sounds like the sedation worked well for you in addition to the local anesthesia. Did the local anesthesia hurt?

I felt worried that no one would talk to me and guide me through, but it sounds like there was someone there for you and that is comforting to know. I think in light of all that I have experienced to date I will feel afraid and just knowing that someone is aware of that and sensitive to that would be wonderful. It sounds like they take really good care of the patient during the procedure and make sure everything is OK. Sometimes just having a voice to tell you everything is fine, or a hand to hold makes such a difference. I hope I will have that on the day, and the rest of the time be pleasantly "unaware" of what is happening and peaceful.

That is one of the concerns that was on my heart, the sedation and the aspect of what I may experience during the procedure and in preparation. I was fearful that I may feel too much, or be afraid, and yet would of course rather not have to be completely "asleep" with anesthesia. I have had so many surgeries in succession and general anesthesia is not something I would want if it could be avoided. It sounds like you were comfortable throughout and that is very encouraging. It also sounds like you didn't remember a great deal, or feel an abundance of distress about the experience itself.

It also sounds like the hours after you did as expected, and that was rest. Given that you seemed to still be recovering, the sedation appears to have been a positive thing in that regard too. I was apprehensive about the hours after and the pain that I may experience, not that I didn't expect to feel that, but just wondered what it may be like.

You mentioned in your earlier post that you could do some activity but "light" in the first few weeks after. What was that like? I have two little ones at home, and wonder what I may expect in the days and weeks that follow? Would I need help around the house etc?

Thank you so much.

Unread 10-28-2004, 10:13 AM
Appointment Tomorrow

Well, our long awaited appointment with the IR (Interventional Radiologists) is tomorrow. I am looking forward to going, not in the way that it is exciting, but in the way that there is so much that we can learn from our visit. If it brings me one step closer to being better than it is certainly worth it.

I am not totally at peace about the embolization, but I am thankful that there is such an opportunity for me. In uncharted waters the unfamiliarity is challenging, and that is what we face as what has been suggested for me in terms of treatment has not been performed before. I know that great things have been achieved though for women struggling with fibroids, and whom have had embolization. My heart just has some flutters to work through which I imagine is pretty understandable. This procedure follows a lengthy list of others, in close succession, and sometimes it is hard.

Still, I do believe that things always happen for a reason. I have much to be thankful for in the love that I feel from my children and husband. That gives my heart a lift and I know that there will be great celebration when this is all over. The journey itself is truly that, a journey. It isn't what any of us could have planned, and yet it is now my own experience. I hope that I can always remember the blessings of this path and the difference that compassion makes to those traveling something similar.

I hope and pray that tomorrow's appointment goes well and that we are able (my husband and I) to feel comfort in the information that will be shared. I also hope that we may leave with a date for the procedure, as that would be such a blessing right now. A subsequent surgery is waiting to be scheduled upon the completion of this embolization and knowing that we had a date would be such a relief.

Unread 10-31-2004, 05:06 AM
Has Anyone Had An Embolization Procedure?

Dear Blessings,

I have been away for awhile...but want you to know you are always on my heart and in my prayer.

So glad to hear your appt is here! I know any answers and dates have been long awaited! It's been my personal experience that the anticipation of ANYTHING is worse than the actual event. God is good and always gives us what we need, when we need it to get through difficult times....it's the waiting...YIKES!

So glad Zalla could give you details as to her experience! Zalla, my brother and sister-inlaw live in Loveland OHIO! God bless you too! Blessings here, is a real "dear" and I thank you for being able to encourage her!

The best of recovery to both of you!

Blessings, thank you for posting...your sisters out here care for you and yours!
Unread 11-02-2004, 08:40 AM
Special Request

We are currently awaiting a call from the hospital with a date for my much needed embolization procedure. My husband and I really shared our hearts with the IR that we saw on Friday. We were told that we would hear something by today, and want to trust that will be the case. Our hearts are so full of hope that this procedure could make a difference.

Unfortunately we have been very disappointed throughout our journey and pray that won't happen this time. It has taken a great deal of advocacy to get this far and it is a challenge to weave through our medical system at the best of times. It truly has opened my eyes and touched my heart to experience the trials and the triumphs of medicine.

It is a leap of faith, this procedure, because it is rare. The doctors have never performed embolization on the location I require it, nor has this complication been seen and treated before. Proceeding is a very difficult decision to make. The risks and complications are significant. We are moving forward with trust, believing that it is what is not only necessary but what is best.

Would you remember us as we await the news of a date for surgery. May it be soon.

Unread 11-02-2004, 03:56 PM
Has Anyone Had An Embolization Procedure?

I most certainly will be remembering you in my prayers.
I understand the apprehension...but also the anticipation and hope that this procedure will be corrective.

Once again, thank you for posting. I so appreciate your willingness to share your circumstances with all of us. I for one have come to "worry" about you! Worry in a way that keeps me in prayer for you!

Please let us know when the procedure is scheduled!
Unread 11-06-2004, 07:47 AM
Has Anyone Had An Embolization Procedure?

Me again!

No I'm not a stalker! Don't listen to what any of the other sisters may say! (I'm kidding really!)

Just wanted to remind you that you're in my thoughts and prayers! My mom, DH and friends all ask about you on a regular basis! I'm so impressed that they too have developed a concern for my dear, distant friend that we really do not know!

We do know that the God we believe in ABSOLUTELY knows! We believe in answered prayer as we've witnessed God in action in many mighty ways! YEP< I'm a radical when it comes to believing in a God that is able and capable to meet our every need.
So dear Blessings, we're praying He'll work mightily in your life as well. Hope you're comfortable, physically, spiritually and emotionally. Hope all is well with your dear ones and that the wait you're enduring is made easier by trusting in One that is ultimately, capable, able and willing to meet our every need!

There, it's not even Sunday...and I couldn't help but preach a little sermon!

Know that we're gathered together in prayer on your behalf!
Love ya!

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