Carotid body tumor

Case contributed by Tamer O. Abdo
Diagnosis almost certain


Patient presented with a lump below the left angle of the mandible.

Patient Data

Age: 65 years
Gender: Female

There is a large globular well-defined heterogeneous predominantly hypoechoic lesion in the left upper cervical region closely related to the left common carotid artery and its bifurcation, measuring 3.8 x 2.7 x 4.5 cm. The lesion appears hypervascular with multiple serpiginous vascular channels noted within.


There is a lobulated mass lesion measuring about 4.6 x 4.2 x 3.5 cm with avid contrast enhancement seen in the left upper neck causing splaying of the left common carotid artery bifurcation compatible with left carotid body tumor.

The mentioned carotid body tumor is supplied by tortuous arteries from branches of left external carotid artery, left inferior thyroid artery and thyroida ima artery.

Case Discussion

Carotid body tumors are the most common type of paraganglioma of the head and neck. They are usually diagnosed in the 4th to 5th decade and have a female predilection. They typically arise at the bifurcation of the common carotid artery causing splaying of the internal and external carotid arteries. Malignant transformation has been reported in up to 36% of cases. Surgical excision is the treatment of choice.

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