Glomus Caroticum Tumors: Evaluation with CT and MRI

Tein Yow Chang, Chao Bao Luo*, Jiing Feng Lirng, Shing Su Chen, Michael Mu Huo Teng, Wan Yuo Guo, Tsuen Chang, Cheng Yen Chang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Glomus caroticum tumors (GCTs) are rare but are the most common paragangliomas in the head and neck. The imaging studies of 14 patients with 14 GCTs in the neck were reviewed. There were 9 women and 5 men aged between 15 and 54 years with a mean age of 38. All patients presented with palpable, painless neck masses but without associated physiological changes in hemodynamics or blood gas. CT was performed on all patients while MR was performed on three. On CT scan, the lesions were well-marginated, ovoid, isodense or slightly hypodense masses in the neck, which splayed the internal and external carotid arteries at the level of the bifurcation and showed intense enhancement following intravenous administration of contrast medium. The MR findings in three patients all revealed the characteristic "salt and pepper" appearance of GCTs. The diagnostic possibility of GCT has to be considered when an ovoid, well-demarcated solid mass is detected within the carotid bifurcation with intense contrast enhancement on CT and vascular signal voids within the mass on MRI. However, large GCTs on CT with heterogeneous density may be misunderstood as other hypervascular neurogenic tumors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-103
Number of pages5
JournalChinese Journal of Radiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1998


  • Glomus caroticum tumors, computed tomography
  • Glomus caroticum tumors, magnetic resonance imaging


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