Treatment for complex tumors at the base of the skull
Published: May 11, 2012
Updated: May 11, 2012
Glomus bodies are structures throughout the body that monitor the blood for several chemicals. Rarely they can grow and form a tumor, known as a glomus tumor.
The most common places for these tumors to develop are in the neck and the base of the skull below the ear. These tumors are almost always benign, but when they are cancerous, they are very low malignancy.
Glomus tumors typically affect women between the ages of 50 and 60 years old.
Glomus tumors can grow very slowly and the most common symptoms patients have are hearing loss, noise in their ear, balance problems, and swallowing problems.
An initial physical examination of the ear and eardrum typically reveals an abnormality that may be a glomus tumor.
If the doctor suspects there is a tumor, he or she may order a computed tomography (CT) scan or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to get a better view of the tumor, including information about it's size and location.
If surgery is required to remove the tumor, an angiogram can be done to view the blood flow around the tumor and to determine the best course of treatment.
Because these tumors are so slow growing, there are many different options available for treating them, including simple observation.
When they grow to a larger size, or are causing symptoms, treatment options are explored. The location of these tumors is different for every patient and treatment plans need to be made specifically for each patient.
Neurotologists provide care for hearing, balance, and facial weakness that can occur as a result of these tumors.