Results of combined preoperative direct percutaneous embolization and surgical excision in treatment of carotid body tumors

M A Sahin, A Jahollari, A Guler, S Doganci, H Bingol, B Karaman, M Arslan, H Tatar
VASA. Zeitschrift Für Gefässkrankheiten 2011, 40 (6): 461-6

BACKGROUND: Carotid body tumors are infrequent neoplasms in daily practice. Diagnostic difficulties exist because of their slow growth and asymptomatic progress. The surgical treatment is complicated and difficult due to their proximity to vascular and neural structures. In this study we present the results of 12 patients operated for carotid body tumor that underwent preoperative percutaneous direct embolization.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: The data of 12 patients, diagnosed with carotid body tumor and surgically treated at our department between 2000 and 2010, was retrospectively analyzed. Duplex ultrasound, computerized tomography and selective carotid angiography were the applied diagnostic tools. Two days before the planned surgery all patients underwent percutaneous direct embolization to achieve devascularization of the tumor. Afterwards, surgical excision of the mass under general anesthesia was performed in all cases.

RESULTS: Five tumors were classified as Shamblin type I (41.7%), and the others were type II (58.3%). All masses were removed sub-adventitially and no vascular reconstruction was necessary. There was no mortality and no permanent neural damage. Malfunction of the tongue was observed in only one case, which recovered completely in one month. There was one recurrence detected by Duplex ultrasound and angiography during the follow up period.

CONCLUSIONS: Surgical excision is mandatory to be performed as soon as diagnosed in carotid body tumors. Preoperative direct percutaneous embolization of the mass helps to devascurize the tumor, enabling an optimal surgical procedure. The outcomes of such a combined intervention are excellent and neurovascular structure preservation decreases complication and morbidity rates.

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