J Vasc Surg 2010 Dec;52(6):1518-23
Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, Department of Vascular Surgery, Butterfield St, Herston, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
Objectives: Our objective was to assess the short- and long-term outcome for patients after carotid body tumor (CBT) resection and discuss the potential pitfalls of the treatment.
Methods: An analysis was undertaken of all patients who underwent CBT resection at Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital and Greenslopes Private Hospital between 1982 and 2007. Primary tumor characteristics, surgical technique, and outcomes were recorded and analyzed.
Results: A total of 49 consecutive CBT resections (2 recurrent tumors) were carried out in 39 patients (26 women [56%]) who were a mean age of 49 years (range, 17-75 years). A nontender neck mass was the presenting complaint in 85%, followed by screening in familial or contralateral tumors in 26%. Familial cases occurred in 11 patients (28%). There were no operative deaths. Complications occurred in 13 of the 49 operations (27%), predominantly temporary nerve palsies and were more likely to occur in tumors of large volume or in cases of removal of coexisting vagal tumors. Malignant disease was present in seven cases (15%). All patients have been followed-up postoperatively for a mean of 11 years (range, 2-26 years). Metachronous paragangliomas have been discovered in six patients, all with familial disease.
Conclusions: Early resection of carotid body tumors should be undertaken while still small to minimize the risk of neural injury, which increases with tumor size. In cases of bilateral CBT, we recommend that the smaller tumor be resected first, before the staged resection of the larger contralateral tumor. In familial or bilateral tumor cases, other synchronous and metachronous paragangliomas should be excluded. Mandatory lifelong follow-up is essential.