Glomus Jugulare Tumors are the most common tumors of the
middle ear. They arise from Glomus Bodies located
within the ear and are very vascular with a blood supply
derived from the External Carotid and Internal Carotid Arteries.
Glomus Jugulare Tumors are slow growing and are
much more common in women.
The symptoms of a Glomus Jugulare Tumor include:
A comprehensive physical examination will identify hearing loss
and neurological deficits relating to damage to Cranial Nerves 9, 10,
11 & 12 such as swallowing, gagging, shrugging shoulders and tongue
- Hearing loss with
- Pulsatile tinnitus (ringing in the ear),
- Vertigo (dizziness)
- Ear pain
- Weakness of swallowing, gagging, shrugging shoulders and tongue movement
Neurophysiological tests for hearing (audiometry) and balance
(vestibular) function may be helpful to document damage to these
A red/blue pulsatile mass behind the tympanic membrane is
usually seen on examination of the ear.
CT or MRI Scans show a vascular lesion in the region of
the Middle Ear and Skull Base.
Blood Chemistry testing for catecholamines
and 24 hour urine collection for vanillylmandelic
acid, metanephrines, and total catecholamines (to assess
catecholamine secretion) should also be performed.
Glomus Jugulare Tumors require a comprehensive approach that
includes medical, surgical and radiation therapy.
Medical therapy is useful for tumors that actively secrete
catecholamines and is appropriate for palliation or as
adjunctive treatment prior to surgery. "Alpha and beta
blockers" are important medications to employ before
surgery in order to block the potential lethal blood pressure
lability and Heart arrhythmias that may occur with manipulation of
the tumor which releases Catecholamines into the blood stream.
Glomus Jugulare Tumors are very vascular, often
requiring pre-operative embolization of the blood supply to the
tumor. Surgical treatment is best accomplished by an
Skull Base Tumor Team
of specialists including Neurosurgery, Neuro-otology, Head & Neck
Cancer Surgeon, Vascular Surgery and Craniofacial Plastic Surgery.
The potential complications of surgery include:
persistent leakage of Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) from the ear,
facial paralysis due to damage to the 7th
Cranial Nerve (that controls face movement including eye
closing), impaired facial sensation resulting from
injury to the 5th Cranial nerve branches
and hearing loss on the operated side.
Glomus Jugulare Tumors have a significant risk to
recurrence (even though the surgery may have been quite
successful) potentially necessitating one or more additional
Radiation Therapy can be a useful adjunct to relieve symptoms
and stop growth, in spite of persistent tumor mass.
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This page last edited on 2/19