Ovarian Vein Diameter Cannot Be Used as an Indicator of Ovarian Venous Reflux

Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg. 2015 Jan;49(1):90-4. doi: 10.1016/j.ejvs.2014.10.013.


Objectives: Previous research into pelvic venous reflux has suggested that the size of the ovarian veins indicates the presence or absence of reflux. It is already known that vessel diameter is not an indicator of reflux in the great saphenous vein. However, to this day, physicians still use vein size to plan treatment of refluxing ovarian veins. The authors aimed to investigate whether or not vessel diameter can be used as an indicator of reflux in the ovarian veins.

Methods: Nineteen female patients (mean 40.2 years, range 29-60) presenting to a specialist vein unit with leg varicose veins underwent duplex ultrasonography (DUS). All were found to have a significant pelvic contribution to their leg reflux on transvaginal duplex ultrasonography (TVS) and were referred to an interventional radiologist for treatment by transjugular coil embolization. During the procedure, the diameter of the ovarian veins was measured using digital subtraction venography.

Results: Thirty-four ovarian veins were measured (17 right, 17 left) and of these 18 were found to be non-refluxing while 16 displayed reflux. The mean diameter of the non-refluxing veins was 7.2 mm (range 3-13 mm)and that of the refluxing veins was 8.5 mm (range 4-13 mm). This difference was found to be insignificant at a 95% confidence level (Student t test, p = .204).

Conclusions: There is no significant difference between the diameters of competent and refluxing ovarian veins and, as such, techniques that measure vein diameter may not be suitable for the diagnosis of venous reflux in the ovarian veins.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Weights and Measures / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Ovary / blood supply*
  • Phlebography
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Duplex
  • Varicose Veins / diagnostic imaging*
  • Veins / diagnostic imaging*