Vertebral Artery Involvement by Tympanojugular Paragangliomas: Management and Outcomes with a Proposed Addition to the Fisch Classification

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To present the management and outcomes of cases of tympanojugular paraganglioma (TJP) with vertebral artery (VA) involvement, and to propose the addition of the new ‘V’ category to the Fisch classification.

Materials and Methods:

Retrospective analysis of data from a quaternary neuro-otologic and skull base referral center. We studied 230 TJP patients to identify the cases with VA involvement and present their management, surgical findings and outcome.


Out of 230 patients, 8 patients were found to have VA involvement by TJP. The extradural artery was involved in 1 patient and the intradural VA was involved in 6 patients. The intradural and extradural VA were simultaneously involved in 1 patient. Seven of the 8 patients underwent surgery. In 2 patients, preoperative occlusion was performed (1 with balloon, 1 with coils). In 5 of these 7 patients, the tumor was successfully separated from the VA by microdissection with or without endovascular intervention. In another patient, the tumor together with the involved VA was removed. Of 7 patients who had surgery, 1 patient did not undergo endovascular intervention and had subtotal tumor removal from the VA. There were no serious complications in removing the tumor from around the VA.


Although uncommon, the intradural or extradural VA can be involved by TJP. To avoid vascular accidents, the VA should be thoroughly evaluated at the planning stage. We advocate that the addition of a ‘V’ category would help to identify patients who need individualized VA management as part of a complete surgical evaluation.

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