JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Management of carotid body tumors and familial paragangliomas: review of 30 years' experience.

BACKGROUND: Carotid body tumors (CBTs), especially familial paragangliomas, are rare benign neoplasms, accounting for <0.5% of all tumors; and they are the most common extra-adrenal paraganglioma.

METHODS: In this study, CBTs were clinically suspected in 31 patients but diagnosed by histopathology in 28 between 1977 and 2007 at our department. All but one was operated upon. The ages of the 30 surgically treated patients ranged 17-73 years. A mass in the neck was the common symptom in all patients. Two of the 28 patients with CBTs had a familial paraganglioma history of CBT.

RESULTS: Twenty-eight of these 30 surgically treated patients had confirmed CBT by histopathology; the diagnoses of other two patients were neurofibroma in one and tuberculosis lymphadenitis in one. These two patients were excluded from the study. CBTs were resected without a shunt procedure. UltraCision was used in five patients for tumor resection; the surgical results of these patients were excellent (easy dissection, minimal hemorrhage and time operation). Twenty patients underwent total resection, six had resection and saphenous vein interposition, one had partial resection, and one had carotid artery ligation with no resultant neurological deficit. One case of hypoglossal paralysis and one benign recurrence were detected. No mortality or malignant course was observed.

CONCLUSION: CBTs are infrequent neoplasms; their surgical treatment is highly dependent on the ability and experience of the surgeon. The diagnostic and therapeutic relevance reside in making a timely diagnosis to propose a surgical treatment aimed at preventing complications and neurological damage. Surgical resection is usually definitive therapy for these lesions.

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