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Published online: 2024-06-25

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Preoperative embolisation of head and neck paragangliomas — a single-centre experience

Paweł Szmygin1, Maciej Szmygin2, Tomasz Roman2, Andrzej Kucharski3, Tomasz Jargiełło2, Radosław Rola1, Marcin Szymański3


Introduction. Paragangliomas are neuroendocrine tumours commonly located in the abdomen, thorax, head and neck. The definitive treatment for these tumours is surgical resection, which in some cases can be very challenging due to the involvement of critical neurovascular structures and their high vascularity. Therefore, pre-operative embolisation may be performed to reduce the risk of complications. This study aimed to present our experience with endovascular embolisation of head and neck paragangliomas (HNP).

Material and methods. In this single-centre study, we reviewed data from consecutive patients with HNP who underwent pre-operative embolisation from 2017 to 2023. The efficacy of embolisation, the method of embolisation, as well as the rate of complications, were noted.

Results. A total of 27 patients (15 females) with an average age of 47 years underwent selective embolisation of HNP. Satisfactory embolisation, defined as occlusion of > 75% of the blood supply, was achieved in 22/27 cases (81.5%). The most commonly used embolic agents included coils and microspheres. With the exception of minor vessel dissections in two patients and embolic agent migration in two patients causing reversible occlusion of the intracranial vessels, there were no other complications associated with embolisation. No neurological deficits occurred in relation to the endovascular procedure.

Conclusions. The results of our study indicate that endovascular embolisation of HNP prior to surgical resection is a safe and efficacious procedure, with a relatively low complication rate and associated morbidity.

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