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Pulsatile Tinnitus

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Surgery for Pulsatile Tinnitus

For patients with pulsatile tinnitus caused by venous sinus stenosis (narrowing of veins in the brain), the FDA and the Weill Cornell Institutional Review Board have approved a new clinical trial that has shown promising results with venous sinus stenting. This minimally invasive surgery, which involves inserting a stent in the narrowed vein, can restore healthy blood flow and reduce or eliminate the pulsatile tinnitus.

In the stenting process, with the patient under general anesthesia, a soft, tiny catheter is inserted into the femoral vein located in the upper part of the leg, then threaded to the affected vein in the brain. Once the catheter is in position, a self-expanding stent is inserted into the catheter and deployed into the narrowed segment of the vein, relieving the stenosis. The patient is typically discharged from the hospital within 24 to 48 hours.

When pulsatile tinnitus is caused by venous sinus stenosis (left), opening up the narrowed vein with a mesh stent (right) may be a cure.

Reviewed by: Srikanth Boddu, MD, MSc
Last reviewed/updated: August 2020