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Solitary paraganglioma of the hypoglossal nerve: A case report with magnetic resonance imaging findings

Mehmet Beyazal, Alpaslan Yavuz, Özkan Ünal, Hakan Çankaya, Deniz Yılmaz

(Van, Turkey)

Am J Case Rep 2013; 14:419-423

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.889509

Background: Paragangliomas are rare neuroendocrine tumors originating in the neural crest. Only a few cases of hypoglossal paraganglioma have been reported in the published literature. The localization of hypoglossal paragangliomas close to the carotid artery precludes determination of tumor origin preoperatively.
Case Report: A 58-year-old female patient was admitted due to neck pain. During physical examination, a significant mass could not be palpated in the upper left part of the neck, despite sensitivity during palpation. Atrophy and left deviation of the left half of the tongue was observed. MRI of the neck revealed a lesion located superior to the carotid bifurcation between the left internal carotid artery and external carotid artery. There was atrophy in the left half of the tongue. The neck mass displaced the left internal carotid artery anteriorly and medially. The operation was performed with left lateral cervical access. This lesion, which derived from the hypoglossal nerve, was excised. Following histopathological evaluation, the lesion was diagnosed as paraganglioma.
Conclusions: Hypoglossal paraganglioma is quite rare and there are no established criteria for preoperative diagnosis. Hypoglossal paraganglioma must be considered to determine treatment options if a lateral neck mass and ipsilateral tongue atrophy are present at the level of the 12th cranial nerve tract.

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