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Glomus Tumors Workup

  • Author: Ryszard M Pluta, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Brian H Kopell, MD  more...
Updated: May 12, 2016


The Glasscock-Jackson and Fisch classifications of glomus tumors are widely used. The Fisch classification of glomus tumors is based on extension of the tumor to surrounding anatomic structures and is closely related to mortality and morbidity.

  • Type A tumor - Tumor limited to the middle ear cleft (glomus tympanicum)
  • Type B tumor - Tumor limited to the tympanomastoid area with no infralabyrinthine compartment involvement
  • Type C tumor - Tumor involving the infralabyrinthine compartment of the temporal bone and extending into the petrous apex
  • Type C1 tumor - Tumor with limited involvement of the vertical portion of the carotid canal
  • Type C2 tumor - Tumor invading the vertical portion of the carotid canal
  • Type C3 tumor - Tumor invasion of the horizontal portion of the carotid canal
  • Type D1 tumor - Tumor with an intracranial extension less than 2 cm in diameter
  • Type D2 tumor - Tumor with an intracranial extension greater than 2 cm in diameter
Contributor Information and Disclosures

Ryszard M Pluta, MD, PhD Associate Professor, Neurosurgical Department Medical Research Center, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland; Clinical Staff Scientist, Surgical Neurology Branch, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health (NIH); Fishbein Fellow, JAMA

Ryszard M Pluta, MD, PhD is a member of the following medical societies: Polish Society of Neurosurgeons, Congress of Neurological Surgeons

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Brian A Iuliano, MD Attending Neurosurgeon, Central Maryland Neurosurgical Associates

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

Chief Editor

Brian H Kopell, MD Associate Professor, Department of Neurosurgery, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Brian H Kopell, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Association of Neurological Surgeons, International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society, Congress of Neurological Surgeons, American Society for Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery, North American Neuromodulation Society

Disclosure: Received consulting fee from Medtronic for consulting; Received consulting fee from St Jude Neuromodulation for consulting; Received consulting fee from MRI Interventions for consulting.

Additional Contributors

Duc Hoang Duong, MD Professor, Chief Physician, Departments of Neurological Surgery and Neuroscience, Epilepsy Center, Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science

Duc Hoang Duong, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Neurological Association, Congress of Neurological Surgeons, North American Skull Base Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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Lateral view of the initial carotid arteriogram of a 20-year-old woman who presented in June 1970 with episodic hypertension, headaches, and palpitations. Urine catecholamine levels were elevated, and a pheochromocytoma was suspected. She underwent a negative exploratory laparotomy. She subsequently developed palsies of the IX, X, XI, and XII cranial nerves on the right side. A norepinephrine-secreting glomus jugulare tumor with intracranial and cervical extension was identified on radiologic and arteriographic imaging. Arrows delineate the tumor blush. The arrowhead demonstrates a branch of the middle meningeal artery providing blood supply to the tumor. This branch was embolized.
A significant decrease of tumor vascular blush (arrows) following embolization of a norepinephrine-secreting glomus jugulare tumor with intracranial and cervical extension.
CT imaging demonstrates the extent of bony destruction (white and black arrows) by the tumor. The normal jugular foramen on the left (arrow head) is shown for comparison. The patient subsequently underwent surgical resection of the extracranial portion of this extensive tumor. The remaining intracranial portion was treated with radiation therapy (54 Gy). Follow-up evaluations, including imaging and laboratory investigations, demonstrated long-term control of both tumor growth and catecholamine production.
Lateral carotid arteriogram obtained 22 years after radiation therapy in a 20-year-old woman who presented in June 1970 with episodic hypertension, headaches, and palpitations.
Corresponding MRI of the tumor depicted in the previous image indicating no evidence of tumor growth over time.
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