A case of paraganglioma of the recurrent laryngeal nerve

June 4, 2012
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Paragangliomas are rare neuroendocrine tumors that derive from the extra-adrenal paraganglia. In the head and neck region, these neoplasms most commonly arise from the carotid body, the vagus nerve, and the jugulotympanic area. We describe the case of an 87-year-old woman with an incidental finding of a clinically, radiologically, and cytologically presumed retrosternal goiter. During a left thyroid lobectomy, she was found to have a mass that originated in the left recurrent laryngeal nerve. The mass was resected, and subsequent histopathologic examination found it to be a paraganglioma. Follow-up evaluation confirmed the expected finding of a left-sided vocal fold palsy. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first reported case of a paraganglioma arising from a recurrent laryngeal nerve.


Paragangliomas of the head and neck region are rare neuroendocrine tumors that derive from extra-adrenal paraganglia. When they do occur, they usually arise at one of three anatomic sites: the carotid bifurcation, the vagus nerve, or the jugulotympanic ganglion. In very rare cases, paragangliomas have emerged at other sites in the head and neck, such as the larynx, sinonasal areas, and orbit. These masses can be confused clinically with other benign or malignant lesions.

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CitationEar Nose Throat J. 2012 June;91(6):E4-E6