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Carotid body tumors (CBT) are paragangliomas arising from the carotid body, a chemoreceptor located at the carotid
bifurcation. These tumors are predominantly benign and slow-growing. Most CBT are sporadic but an understanding
of the anatomy/physiology of paragangliomas, and potential familial inheritance, bilaterality, and association with other
paragangliomas is paramount to the optimum evaluation and management of these tumors. Surgical resection with curative
intent continues to be the treatment of choice, with minimum morbidity associated with proper preoperative planning and
surgical technique. Observation and radiation therapy continue to be acceptable alternatives in select patients. It is imperative
to understand the complications of CBT surgery, such as regional cranial nerve injury, first bite syndrome, and baroreceptor
reflex failure, to properly counsel patients preoperatively, and manage these potential complications in the postoperative setting.
Nadir Ahmad, MD, FACS, is the Division Head, Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery and Associate Professor of Surgery at the Cooper University Hospital/Medical
School in Camden, NJ, USA. He is also the Director of the Head & Neck Cancer Program at the MD Anderson at Cooper Cancer Center in Camden, NJ, USA. He
completed fellowship training in Head & Neck Surgical Oncology, Microvascular Reconstructive Surgery, and Skull Base Surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center
under the mentorship of Dr. James Netterville, Dr. Brian Burkey, and Dr. Robert Sinard. He was previously an Assistant Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology-
Head & Neck Surgery at the Virginia Commonwealth University/Medical College of Virginia. He has done surgical mission work in Nigeria and has been a Visiting Surgeon/
Professor at Civil Hospital/Dow Medical College and Indus Hospital, both in Karachi, Pakistan.
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