Perioperative approach in the surgical management of carotid body tumors

Tian-hua Zhang, Wei-liang Jiang, Yong-li Li, Bing Li, Tatsuo Yamakawa
Annals of Vascular Surgery 2012, 26 (6): 775-82

BACKGROUND: Now, surgical resection still remains the gold standard for the treatment of carotid body tumors (CBTs). Although advances in surgical techniques and the introduction of sensitive imaging modalities have significantly reduced mortality, the incidence of perioperative neurovascular complications, especially cranial nerve deficit and intraoperative hemorrhage, remains considerable. To solve these problems, preoperative embolization has been suggested; the reported benefits of preoperative embolization performed <48 hours before surgery include a reduction in tumor size, decreased blood loss, and improved visualization, theoretically reducing neurologic morbidity by lessening the risk of stroke and damage to cranial nerves. The purpose of this study was to review our experience in the surgical management of CBTs with preoperative embolization and evaluate the outcomes and complications according to the Shamblin classification.

METHODS: Thirty-two patients who had been diagnosed with and surgically treated for CBTs were enrolled from January 2005 till July 2010. All perioperative scans were evaluated by computed tomography angiography. We reviewed patient demographics, radiographic findings, and surgical outcomes collected from medical records.

RESULTS: Thirty-two patients underwent surgical excision without mortality. Angiography with selective preoperative tumor embolization was performed on 21 patients. The median blood loss, operation time, and hospital stay for these patients were significantly reduced compared with those without embolization. There were no recurrences or delayed complications at the median follow-up of 20 months.

CONCLUSION: Embolization as an adjunctive tool was beneficial for CBT surgery outcomes. Embolization should only be undertaken in those vessels that can be subselectively catheterized and determined not to allow free reflux of contrast medium into the internal carotid artery. Tumor embolization was performed on patients with Cook detachable coils, which are highly effective for supply artery closure if properly selected, and complications can be minimized by proper selection and positioning of the coil. Operation within 48 hours after embolization is recommended to minimize revascularization edema or a local inflammatory response.

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