The Effects of Preoperative Embolization on Carotid Body Paraganglioma Surgery: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2015 Dec;153(6):943-50. doi: 10.1177/0194599815605323. Epub 2015 Sep 16.


Objective: There is no definitive consensus on the impact of preoperative embolization on carotid body paraganglioma management. The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of preoperative embolization on carotid body paraganglioma excision.

Data sources: A systematic search was conducted without limits, and it included studies published on or before July 2013 from PubMed, CINAHL, Web of Knowledge, and the Cochrane Library. Relevant synonyms for the search terms "paraganglioma,""carotid body tumor," and "embolization" were applied.

Review methods: Studies evaluating patients undergoing surgical intervention with embolization for carotid body tumors were included. Two reviewers independently assessed the titles and abstracts for inclusion and extracted the data. The guidelines set forth by the Cochrane Collaboration were followed in the process of data extraction. Data were pooled with a fixed effects model, and standardized mean difference (SMD) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) are reported.

Results: A total of 22 studies (15 nonrandomized studies with a comparator, 7 single-arm studies) were included, enrolling 578 patients with 607 tumors. Patients undergoing preoperative embolization had significantly less estimated blood loss compared with those of surgical excision only (12 studies; 295 tumors; SMD: -0.52; 95% CI: -0.77, -0.28). Patients undergoing preoperative embolization had less operative time compared with that of surgical excision only (6 studies; 174 tumors; SMD: -0.46; 95% CI: -0.77, -0.14).

Conclusion: Surgical excision with preoperative embolization appears to decrease estimated blood loss and operative time when compared with that without preoperative embolization for carotid body paragangliomas.

Keywords: carotid body tumor; embolization; head and neck surgery; paraganglioma; systematic review.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Carotid Body Tumor / surgery
  • Carotid Body Tumor / therapy*
  • Embolization, Therapeutic*
  • Humans
  • Postoperative Hemorrhage
  • Preoperative Care*