Incidence of cranial nerve palsy after preoperative embolization of glomus jugulare tumors using Onyx

Brandon G. Gaynor, Mohamed Samy Elhammady, Daniel Jethanamest, Simon I. Angeli, Mohammad A. Aziz-Sultan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Object. The resection of glomus jugulare tumors can be challenging because of their inherent vascularity. Preoperative embolization has been advocated as a means of reducing operative times, blood loss, and surgical complications. However, the incidence of cranial neuropathy associated with the embolization of these tumors has not been established. The authors of this study describe their experience with cranial neuropathy following transarterial embolization of glomus jugulare tumors using ethylene vinyl alcohol (Onyx, eV3 Inc.). Methods. The authors retrospectively reviewed all cases of glomus jugulare tumors that had been treated with preoperative embolization using Onyx at their institution in the period from 2006 to 2012. Patient demographics, clinical presentation, grade and amount of Onyx used, degree of angiographic devascularization, and procedural complications were recorded. Results. Over a 6-year period, 11 patients with glomus jugulare tumors underwent preoperative embolization with Onyx. All embolization procedures were completed in one session. The overall mean percent of tumor devascularization was 90.7%. No evidence of nontarget embolization was seen on postembolization angiograms. There were 2 cases (18%) of permanent cranial neuropathy attributed to the embolization procedures (facial nerve paralysis and lower cranial nerve dysfunction). Conclusions. Embolizing glomus jugulare tumors with Onyx can produce a dramatic reduction in tumor vascularity. However, the intimate anatomical relationship and overlapping blood supply between these tumors and cranial nerves may contribute to a high incidence of cranial neuropathy following Onyx embolization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)377-381
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014


  • Cranial nerve palsy
  • Embolization
  • Ethylene vinyl alcohol
  • Glomus jugulare tumor
  • Onyx
  • Vascular disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery


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