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Chirurgia 2010 December;23(6):285-8

Copyright © 2011 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: Italian

Carotid body tumors: a case report

Ranica R., Stringhi E.

Struttura Complessa di Chirurgia Generale e Vascolare, Azienda Ospedaliera “Ospedale Treviglio Caravaggio”, Treviglio, Bergamo, Italia


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The carotid body tumors interesting the carotid bifurcation do not only occur frequently but are also very important for the surgical and diagnostic problems they pose. We describe a case of carotid body tumor that is treated surgically. Our patient was hospitalized for massive hematoma of the right rectus abdominis muscle due to a fall at home after fainting episode. After urgent drainage of the hematoma, further investigations were made, including the execution of a echo-color-Doppler examination, documenting the presence of a highly vascularized mass in the right carotid bifurcation. AngioCT examination confirmed the presence of this mass, whose characteristics posed the suspicion of carotid body tumor. The patient therefore underwent surgical resection of the tumor and origin of the external carotid artery ligation, given that it was enveloped by the tumor. Histological examination confirmed a framework of carotid paraganglioma. The data in the literature show that, given the uncertainties in the allocation of histological malignancy and possible changes, systematic surgical treatment is the best treatment choice. It should include neck dissection in case of detected metastases. With the current preoperative imaging examinations and improved surgical techniques, still the operative risk of a patient suffering from carotid body tumor is similar to that of a patient who must be subjected to carotid thromboendoarterectomy.

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