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Diagnostic Testing for Pelvic Congestion Syndrome

written by: R. Elizabeth C. Kitchen•edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski•updated: 7/31/2009

This article focuses on the different diagnostic tests used to diagnose pelvic congestion syndrome.

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    Pelvic congestion syndrome can be very difficult to diagnose. Before making a definitive diagnosis all other possible conditions must first be ruled out. There are four diagnostic tests used to make a definitive diagnosis of this condition. These diagnostic tests are all forms of imaging and include ultrasound, magnetic resonance, venogram and computed tomography.

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    Ultrasound

    An ultrasound is the first and most popular choice when trying to diagnose this medical condition. It is considered the most definitive diagnostic test because it is able to determine whether there are any variscosities in the pelvis as well as visualize the blood flow. Ultrasounds take approximately thirty minutes to complete and are completely painless.

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    Venogram

    In the past a venogram was one of the most common diagnostic tests used to diagnose pelvic congestion syndrome, but today this test is not used as often because of the use of computed tomography (CT scans). During a venogram, a special dye is injected in a vein in the groin and then x-rays are taken. It is used to look for variscosities and to assess the blood flow to the pelvic region. A venogram takes approximately 30 to 45 minutes to complete and is painless. There are small risks with this procedure including possible allergic reaction to the special dye and some radiation exposure.

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    Computed Tomography

    Computed tomography has become increasingly popular is diagnosing this medical condition and has replaced the venogram in many hospitals. It is used to look for pelvic vein varicosity and to look at the lower pelvic anatomy. This diagnostic tests will take 15 to 30 minutes to complete and is completely painless. Because there is some radiation exposure it should not be used on pregnant women.

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    Magnetic Resonance Imaging

    Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has also become very popular in diagnosing this medical condition. It does not use contract dye or radiation to complete it and it is completely painless. The MRI has become a preferred test among radiologists when diagnosing this medical condition. It is used to look for pelvic vein varicosity and to look at the lower pelvic anatomy. This test will take approximately 15 minutes to complete.

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    Resources

    Vein Directory. (2007). Pelvic Congestion Syndrome. Retrieved on July 31, 2009 from Website: http://www.veindirectory.org/content/pelvic-congestion-syndrome.asp