Results of surgical resection of carotid body tumors: A twenty-year experience

January F. Moore, John D. Casler, Warner Andrew Oldenburg, Ronald Reimer, Robert E. Wharen, H. Gordon Deen, Houssam Farres, Albert G. Hakaim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines whether surgical resection of carotid body tumors (CBTs) is acceptable in light of potential significant neurologic complications. This IRB-approved retrospective study analyzed data from 24 patients undergoing surgical treatment for CBTs between April 1998 and April 2017 at Mayo Clinic (Florida campus only). For patients who underwent multiple CBT resections, only data from the first surgery was used in this analysis. CBT resection occurred in 24 patients with the following demographics: fourteen patients (58.3%) were female, median age was 56.5 years, median BMI was 29. A prior history of neoplasm was found in ten patients (41.7%). A known family history of paraganglioma was present in five patients (20.8%). Two patients were positive for succinate dehydrogenase mutation (8.3%). Multiple paragangliomas were present in seven patients (29.2%). There was nerve sacrifice in three patients (12.5%) during resection. Carotid artery reconstruction and patch angioplasty occurred in one patient (4.2%). Complete resection occurred in 24 patients (100.0%). Postoperatively, one patient (4.2%) suffered stroke. No mortalities occurred within or beyond 30 days of surgery. Persistent cranial nerve injury occurred in two patients (8.3%) with vocal cord paralysis. There was no recurrence of CBT through last follow-up. Five patients (20.8%) were diagnosed with other neoplasms after resection, including basal cell carcinoma, contralateral carotid body tumor, glomus vagale, and glomus jugulare. There was 100% survival at 1 year in patients followed for that time (n = 17). Surgical treatment remains the first-line curative treatment to relieve symptoms and ensure non-recurrence. While acceptable, neurologic complications are significant and therefore detailed preoperative informed consent is mandatory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalRare Tumors
StatePublished - 2020


  • Carotid body tumor
  • paraganglioma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Histology
  • Oncology


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