Glomus tumors: therapeutic role of selective embolization

J Craniofac Surg. 2004 May;15(3):497-505. doi: 10.1097/00001665-200405000-00031.


The primary goals of preoperative embolization of glomus tumors are to reduce the blood loss in the surgical field, minimize the risk of operative complications, and prevent recurrence by contributing to complete resection. Obliteration of a vascular channel may provide additional help in symptomatic relief by decreasing the tumor volume. Selective transarterial embolotherapy outcomes of 17 patients, most of whom had inoperable tumors and were unable to have surgery/radiotherapy because of poor general health, were evaluated to investigate the therapeutic contributions, efficacy, and safety of embolization techniques in the treatment of different glomus tumors and to examine the role of the embolotherapy in the treatment algorithm of such lesions. The pattern of vascular supply of these tumors was also documented. Eleven glomus jugulotympanicum, 4 glomus caroticum, and 2 glomus vagale tumors were embolized for palliative or curative purposes between 1992 and 2000. Coils and combination of coils plus polyvinyl alcohol were used for embolization. Relief of symptoms and patient satisfaction were analyzed within 3 months after the intervention by a questionnaire combined with full ear, nose, and throat and neurological examinations. The results indicate that the use of embolotherapy in the treatment of glomus tumors must be basically preoperative but is not curative.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aortic Bodies / pathology
  • Blood Loss, Surgical / prevention & control
  • Carotid Body Tumor / therapy
  • Embolization, Therapeutic* / instrumentation
  • Embolization, Therapeutic* / methods
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glomus Jugulare Tumor / therapy
  • Glomus Tumor / blood supply
  • Glomus Tumor / therapy*
  • Glomus Tympanicum Tumor / therapy
  • Humans
  • Intraoperative Complications / prevention & control
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Palliative Care
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Polyvinyl Alcohol / therapeutic use
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Polyvinyl Alcohol