Glomus tympanicum tumors are tumors called paragangliomas that arise in the middle ear (behind the ear drum). These tumors are almost always benign. Symptoms typically involve hearing one's heart beat and hearing loss.
Diagnosis of glomus tympanicum tumors usually happens through patient symptoms and seeing the tumor behind the eardrum. CT scan and, less often, MR scan may aid in the diagnosis.
Glomus tympanicum tumors are usually treated surgically. Surgery depends on the tumor's size. Smaller tumors can be removed through the ear canal. Larger tumors may involve other areas of the temporal bone and more involved approaches may be needed.
In cases where the tumor is very small, older patients or patients who cannot tolerate risks of anesthesia, observation without surgery may be elected.
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