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The crucial role of imaging in determining the approach to glomus tympanicum tumours

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Glomus tumours are rare vascular tumours arising within the lateral skull base, infratemporal fossa and upper neck. When they are confined to the middle ear cleft, they are termed glomus tympanicum tumours. Traditionally tympanicum tumours have been treated surgically and their removal has generally been regarded as quite straightforward. Our experience with these lesions however, is that they fall into two distinct categories, those with and those without hypotympanic involvement. This distinction can be determined by high resolution CT scanning in coronal and axial planes. Mesotympanic tumours are indeed typically straightforward in their removal and can be approached by a transcanal route. Hypotympanic extension requires additional evaluation by MRI, and a more extensive surgical approach. In this paper, we present our management approach based on a series of nine cases. We conclude that determining the tumour extension preoperatively by using modern imaging techniques is essential in planning the surgery.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to A. Alaani.

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Alaani, A., Chavda, S.V. & Irving, R.M. The crucial role of imaging in determining the approach to glomus tympanicum tumours. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol 266, 827–831 (2009).

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