Tumors can form in any part of the body. Although not entirely common, tumors can also develop in carotid body, potentially involving the external and internal carotid arteries. The carotid body is a specialized group of cells that helps to regulate hemostasis.
Definition of Carotid Body Tumors
Carotid bodies help to regulate the various parameters such as carbon dioxide levels, pH, blood pressure, and oxygenation. Approximately 10% of these tumors are malignant. The rest are more benign. Ten percent are also bilateral.
Anatomy of Carotid Body Tumors
The carotid arteries are located on either side of the neck and supply oxygenated blood to the brain. Along these vessels, near the point where the common carotid artery bifurcates to become the internal and external carotid arteries, there are specialized cells that contain chemoreceptors called the carotid bodies. These receptors are responsible for regulating certain parameters including blood pH, CO2 content, and oxygen content. This specialized group of cells, like all other cells in the body, can potentially replicate out of control and create a carotid body tumor.
Causes of Carotid Body Tumors
Similar to most forms of cancer, the cause of carotid body tumors can be genetic or sporadic. About 10% of carotid body tumors are due to genetics. The rest are due to a sporadic mutation in the DNA. As the cells divide over the course of a lifetime, there is always a risk of an error in DNA replication. If there is an error that goes unchecked the tissue can multiply.
Symptoms of Carotid Body Tumors
The symptoms of carotid body tumors will vary depending on the size and location
- An enlarged, pulsatile mass in the neck
- Nerve palsies from compression of nearby structures
- Trouble speaking or swallowing
Diagnosis of a Carotid Body Tumor
There are certain clinical findings that might make a physician suspect the presence of a carotid body tumor. Most notably, a pulsatile mass on the side of the neck is extremely suspicious for a carotid body tumor. The definitive diagnosis will require excision to analyze the tumor under the microscope. This would confirm the presence of a carotid body tumor.
Prevention of a Carotid Body Tumor
There has been an association between the development of carotid body tumors and patients exposed to prolonged periods of high altitude. It is unclear why this association exists.
Am I At Risk for a Carotid Body Tumor?
Some people have a history of carotid body tumors that run in their family. These patients need to be followed closely.
Treatment of Carotid Body Tumors
Imaging of the tumor is important to determine the first course of action. Larger tumors are often coiled to decrease their vascularity, size, and decrease the chance of nerve injury. Ultimately, these tumors require resection to be curative. Patients needing surgery are treated by a vascular surgeon in Bradenton, FL. A Bradenton vascular surgeon will analyze the location of the tumor and plan an approach that will safely avoid vital structures in the area. During the procedure, the surgeon will make sure that the entire tumor is removed before closing the patient. This will help minimize the chances of recurrence.
To learn more about treatment procedures for this condition please visit the following:
Patients in need of a Carotid Body Tumor Excision on Florida’s West Coast should locate a paramount vascular surgeon who has the surgical skills necessary to perform this serious surgical operation for the benefit of their patients. Dr. J. Kazil is a superior vascular surgeon who has developed an impressive track record of successful cases in performing open and endovascular carotid body tumor excision. Dr. Kazil understands the important circumstances that drive the treatment with the accuracy and compassion that everyone expects from a high-caliber vascular surgeon.Jenna Kazil, MD, FACS, RPVI is a fantastic surgical specialist working as a general and vascular surgeon seeing patients from South Sarasota to East Desoto and Hardee to North Hillsborough to West Manatee and Pinell as counties. Patients requiring a carotid body tumor excision should contact Dr. Kazil at the Florida Surgical Clinic located in Bradenton, FL today to schedule an appointment with an experienced provider that possesses a unique blend of expert skills and compassionate care.