Glomus tympanicum tumour: an alternative surgical technique

J Laryngol Otol. 2003 Jun;117(6):462-6. doi: 10.1258/002221503321892307.


Glomus tympanicum tumour is one of the commonest neoplasms of the middle ear. It is more common in females. The most common presenting symptom is pulsatile tinnitus. A retrotympanic mass is found in the middle ear in all the cases. Computed tomography (CT) scan is the investigation of choice, however in difficult cases magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can be helpful. Surgery is regarded as the gold standard of treatment in spite of the fact that radiation therapy has also been advocated in the literature. In this series 17 cases of glomus tympanicum treated at Gruppo Otologico Piacenza - Rome (Italy) were analysed retrospectively. A simple and safe technique has been described. All the cases were female and treated by surgery. The tumour was removed completely in all the cases and the ossicular chain kept intact. Recurrence was encountered in only one case after nine years. Surgical removal of the tumour is recommended as the treatment of choice with the following advantages: complete removal, a low complication rate, a low recurrence rate, acceptable hearing level and minimum morbidity.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Ear Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Ear Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Female
  • Glomus Tumor / diagnostic imaging
  • Glomus Tumor / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Otologic Surgical Procedures / adverse effects
  • Otologic Surgical Procedures / methods
  • Paraganglia, Nonchromaffin / diagnostic imaging
  • Paraganglia, Nonchromaffin / surgery*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods
  • Treatment Outcome