Glomus tympanicum chemodectomas are benign neoplasms that develop from normal glomus bodies located along the Jacobson (tympanic) nerve in the middle ear. The medical charts and radiographic studies of 55 patients with these tumors were reviewed. Women outnumbered men in a ratio of 3.5:1, and the patients' average age when they initially reported symptoms was 52 years. Tinnitus, ear pulsations, and diminished hearing were the most frequent symptoms. No patient had a second chemodectoma, and none of seven patients who were tested had elevated neuroendocrine compounds. Review of the radiographic examinations showed that direct coronal, thin-section computed tomography (CT) was the most sensitive means of demonstrating glomus tympanicum chemodectomas. Magnification angiography was also a sensitive diagnostic study, typically depicting a trapezoidal, hypervascular, middle-ear mass that appeared initially in the middle-to-late arterial phase and quickly disappeared in the venous phase. Differentiation from an aberrant internal carotid artery is critical to prevent arterial biopsy.

Article History

Published in print: 1987