About Dural Sinus Exploration

Dural sinus exploration is a procedure performed in the interventional radiology suite and involves placing a catheter in one (or both) of the jugular veins in the neck.

This procedure is done under general anesthesia.

Once the catheter is placed, a RIA neurovascular physician will carefully manipulate the catheter into the veins (also called venous sinuses) to measure pressures and study the flow patterns. If any abnormality is found, the referring physician will be notified of the findings. The referring physician will also be notified if the condition can be managed/treated by an RIA neurovascular physician, so the most informed decision about potential management and/or treatment options can be made.

What this procedure commonly evaluates:

  • Causes of pseudotumor cerebri (also called idiopathic intracranial hypertension)
  • Areas of narrowing known to cause the symptom pulsatile tinnitus
  • Abnormal artery-to-vein connections (such as an arteriovenous malformation or dural arteriovenous fistula)
  • Vessels of the head (often includes a diagnostic cerebral angiogram) for pre-procedure planning (often for neurosurgeons)

Sometimes these procedures and the necessary treatment of any abnormalities can be accomplished at the same time.

However, this is very patient specific and will require a detailed conversation in consultation with an RIA neurovascular physician prior to the procedure, especially if a stent is required. If a stent is placed, two medicines will be necessary to prevent platelets from sticking or clumping together prior to the procedure.

See “Dural Sinus Stenting” for more information pertaining to this procedure.

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