Glomus tympanicum paraganglioma

Last revised by Yahya Baba on 5 Dec 2021

Glomus tympanicum paragangliomas (chemodectomas) are the most common middle ear tumor

There is a female predominance (M: F = 1:3); presentation is most common when patients are more than 40 years old 1,2

May be incidental but symptomatic masses produce pulsatile tinnitus, otalgia, or conductive hearing loss 1,3

Glomus tympanicum paragangliomas arise from the Jacobson nerve at the cochlear promontory

CT is usually the best modality to assess these masses. 

  • soft tissue mass lateral to the cochlear promontory
  • ossicles may or not be destroyed and may simply be encased
  • surrounding bony destruction may be present in aggressive tumors
  • intact jugular bulb

The Glasscock-Jackson and Fisch classifications of glomus tumors 5 are based on the local extension of the tumor and their effect on mortality and morbidity. Glomus tympanicum paragangliomas are considered type A tumor, as they are limited to the middle ear cavity.

Surgical resection is the treatment of choice 4

On imaging consider:

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: distribution of paragangliomas
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  • Case 1
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  • Case 2
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  • Case 3
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  • Case 4
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  • Case 5
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