The Journal of Laryngology & Otology

(RF) Otorhinolaryngology

Cervical paragangliomas: diagnosis, management and complications

M. Hossam Thabet M.D. a1 and Hesham Kotob M.D. a2
a1 Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery Department, Faculty of Medicine, Alexandria University, Egypt, and Fakhry & Al Mohawis Hospital, Alkhobar Saudi Arabia.
a2 Radiology Department, Faculty of Medicine, Alexandria University, Egypt, and Fakhry & Al Mohawis Hospital, Alkhobar, Saudi Arabia.

Article author query
thabet m   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
kotob h   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


Sixteen patients were diagnosed as suffering from cervical paragangliomas. Eleven patients (68.75 per cent) had twelve carotid paragangliomas (CPs), and five patients (31.25 per cent) had six vagal paragangliomas (VP). One CP (8.33 per cent) originated from paraganglia around the common carotid artery (CCA). Three cases of multiple paragangliomas are presented (18.75 per cent). In 80 per cent (4/5) of VP patients there was widening of the carotid bifurcation similar to that seen with CP. This widening occurred whenever the VP was large enough to grown in between the external carotid artery and internal carotid artery (ECA and ICA). Large VPs may displace the vessels either anterolaterally or anteromedially. Knowledge of the direction of the carotid displacement is essential to avoid intra-operative vascular injuries. Colour flow doppler ultrasound (CFD-US) was found to be a good non-invasive method for diagnosis of vascular neck swellings. It enabled the diagnosis of CP with 100 per cent accuracy, but it was not sufficient for diagnosis of high VP. A transcervical approach, cutting the digastric muscle and the styloid process with the attached ligaments and muscles, was sufficient for excision of most VP. However, midline mandibulotomy might be necessary with high VP. Vascular injuries occurred in 12.5 per cent (2/16) of patients. Superior laryngeal nerve and hypoglossal nerve paralysis occurred, respectively, in (2/11) and (1/11) of patients with CP. Vagal paralysis occurred in all patients with VP. Cerebrovascular accident and post-operative death occurred in one patient (6.26 per cent).

Key Words: Carotid Artery; Common; Carotid Body Tumour; Vagus Nerve; Paragangliomas.