Pelvic congestion syndrome and May-Thurner syndrome as causes for chronic pelvic pain syndrome: neuropelveological diagnosis and corresponding therapeutic options
Neuropelveology, vascular entrapment, May-Thurner syndrome, pudendal pain, Coccygodynia, Vulvodynia
Published online: Jun 28 2021
Objective: To report on diagnosis and management of pelvic congestion including the May-Thurner syndrome (MTS) as potential etiologies for intractable pelvic neuropathic pain.
Design: Retrospective study of women presented with intractable pelvic neuropathic pain, who had left sided venous uterine plexus above 6mm with reversed and slow flow on Doppler, with dilated arcuate veins passing through the uterine muscle. Those with suspicion of MTS underwent further radiological investigations and if applicable, endovascular interventions.
Setting: Tertiary referral unit specialized in advanced gynaecological surgery and neuropelveology.
Intervention: 61 consecutive patients were included. 14 with visceral pain presumed to be caused by Pelvic Congestion Syndrome were treated by ovarian vein embolization. An improvement of pain was observed in all patients – mean pain reduction of 3.93 points, from 7.21 (±1.42; 4-10) to 3.28 pts (±1.54; 1-6) over 6 months (p<0.01). 47 presented with pelvic somatic neuropathic pain; 19 underwent endovascular intervention (angioplasty, stenting) and finally all of them a laparoscopic exploration/decompression of the sacral plexus and the endopelvic portion of the pudendal nerves, with an overall VAS reduction from 8.56 (±1.1712;7-10) to 2.63 (±1.53; 0-6) at one-year-follow-up (p<0.01).
Conclusion: Laparoscopic exploration/decompression of the nerves seems to be effective in a carefully selected group of patients. Endovascular interventions for pelvic somatic neuropathies may not be an effective treatment. We recommend that Doppler studies of the uterine vessels are performed as an extension to gynaecological examination in women with intractable pelvic pain.