Pulsatile tinnitus cured by mastoidectomy

Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2004 Sep;113(9):730-3. doi: 10.1177/000348940411300910.


Tinnitus of venous origin is a rare occurrence. It represents roughly half of cases of vascular tinnitus. The choice of treatment is not easy, even when the diagnosis is certain. Reassurance of the patient is often sufficient. Nevertheless, a surgical treatment is sometimes performed--usually ligature of the internal jugular vein. We present the case of a patient with a right venous pulsatile tinnitus and a history of 5 years of ineffective medical and surgical treatments. Ligature of the internal jugular vein was not chosen in this case: a computed tomographic scan showed filled mastoid cells, and mastoidectomy was performed instead. The tinnitus disappeared immediately after surgery and has not recurred during a 2-year follow-up. The bilateral preoperative sensorineural and conductive hearing loss also disappeared. Pulsatile tinnitus of venous origin is usually treated with ligature of the internal jugular vein. Mastoidectomy is an interesting alternative in selected cases.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Audiometry, Pure-Tone
  • Female
  • Hearing Loss, Conductive / etiology
  • Hearing Loss, Conductive / surgery
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / etiology
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / surgery
  • Humans
  • Jugular Veins
  • Mastoid / surgery*
  • Middle Aged
  • Tinnitus / etiology
  • Tinnitus / surgery*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Treatment Outcome