Carotid body tumor

What is it?

The carotid glomus is a neoformation located at the bifurcation of the carotid arteries (located in the neck). It is a rare condition, with an incidence of less than 0.5% of all cancers (1 in 30,000 population per year) and, in most cases, benign. It is characterized by the proliferation of cells that regulate respiration, heart rate, and blood pressure and are known as paragangliomas or chemodectomas. Carotid glomus tumors can occur at any age, but most often between 30 and 40 years of age.

Which are the symptoms?

In some cases, it is an asymptomatic condition, being an incidental finding during neck palpation or imaging examinations. In symptomatic cases, the tumor enlarges, compressing important adjacent structures of the neck, such as nerves, veins, and arteries (mass effect). Patient may present with headache, a mass in the neck, dizziness, hearing loss, tinnitus, dysphagia, hoarseness, and syncope.

  • headache       
  • neck mass       
  • dizziness        
  • hearing loss       
  • tinnitus       
  • dysphagia
  • stroke
  • syncope
  • Bernard-Horner syndrome

How is it diagnosed?

The diagnosis is often incidental during palpation of the neck or after examinations performed for other reasons. When the patient has the symptoms described, more detailed examinations should be performed.

Suggested exams

How is it treated?

The resolutive treatment of carotid glomus tumor is its surgical removal. In some cases, additional maneuvers such as embolization may be performed.

Where do we treat it?

Within the San Donato Group, you can find Carotid body tumor specialists at these departments:

Are you interested in receiving the treatment?

Contact us and we will take care of you.