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Table of Contents
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 111-114

Aural polyp with chronic suppurative otitis media dissembling glomus tympanicum

Department of ENT - Head Neck Surgery, Apollo Hospitals, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India

Date of Submission25-Feb-2020
Date of Acceptance25-Apr-2020
Date of Web Publication18-Jun-2020

Correspondence Address:
Surya Kanta Pradhan
Department of ENT - Head Neck Surgery, Apollo Hospitals, 251, Sainik School Road, Unit-15, Bhubaneswar - 751 005, Odisha
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/am.am_12_20

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Glomus tumors are benign, slow-growing tumors of the temporal bone and most commonly present as hearing loss and tinnitus with an intact tympanic membrane. Most of the time, the diagnosis is delayed and sometimes missed as it is associated with chronic suppurative otitis media (CSOM). History of the disease and proper clinical examination followed by radiological investigations are required for diagnosis and management. Surgery is the treatment of choice, but larger tumors may require other modalities of treatment. Histopathology with immunohistochemistry confirms the diagnosis. We report a case of 63-year-old female patient with glomus tympanicum associated with CSOM. She had symptoms for the last 10 years, but the diagnosis was missed because of coexisting CSOM. She was diagnosed with the help of radiological investigative modalities. She underwent mastoidectomy with complete excision of tumor. She was managed successfully without recurrence. Glomus tumor is an uncommon disease in the middle ear, and sometimes, its diagnosis is missed because of the presence of other diseases. Radiology helps in diagnosis and management of the tumor. Complete surgical excision with regular follow-up prevents recurrence.

Keywords: Chronic suppurative otitis media, glomus tympanicum, histopathology, high-resolution computed tomography, temporal bone

How to cite this article:
Pradhan SK, Gupta S, Jena KK. Aural polyp with chronic suppurative otitis media dissembling glomus tympanicum. Apollo Med 2020;17:111-4

How to cite this URL:
Pradhan SK, Gupta S, Jena KK. Aural polyp with chronic suppurative otitis media dissembling glomus tympanicum. Apollo Med [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Aug 3];17:111-4. Available from: https://www.apollomedicine.org/text.asp?2020/17/2/111/287077

  Introduction Top

Glomus tympanicum is the most common slow-growing tumor of the middle ear cleft. They usually present in 50–60 years of age group. Most common presenting symptoms are hearing loss, pulsatile tinnitus, and ear pain. Clinically, it present as a reddish mass behind the intact ear drum. However, its association with chronic suppurative otitis media (CSOM) makes the diagnosis difficult as it mimics granulation tissue.[1] Computed tomography (CT) scan of the temporal bone helps in diagnosis and management, but confirmation can only be done by histopathology. Complete surgical excision is the treatment of choice followed by regular follow-ups to prevent and manage recurrences. We present a case of CSOM with glomus tympanicum which was managed successfully.

  Case Report Top

A 63-year-old female patient presented to us with right ear discharge, hearing loss, and bleeding. The discharge and hearing loss were there for 10 years; however, recently, the ear started bleeding. On otoscopy, a reddish mass was protruding through the large subtotal perforation in the right ear through. In the left ear, she had central perforation. She has moderate conductive hearing loss in both the ears in pure tone audiometry. She also had central perforation in the left ear with mild discharge. CT scan with contrast and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of the temporal bone were done. There was an enhancing nodular lesion in the right ear with broad-based attachment to the cochlear promontory measuring 9 mm × 7.5 mm. Inferiorly, the mass was eroding the floor of the middle ear cavity with extension into the hypotympanum. Nonenhancing soft tissue in the bilateral middle ear cavity involving hypo-, meso-, epi-tympanum with sclerosis of the bilateral mastoid air cells was seen. Hence, the provisional diagnosis was bilateral CSOM with glomus tympanicum paraganglioma (Fisch Type B) in the right ear [Figure 1] and [Figure 2].
Figure 1: Computed tomography scan with contrast of temporal bone showing enhancing nodular lesion in right ear

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Figure 2: Magnetic resonance imaging of temporal bone showing nodular lesion in the right ear with attachment to the cochlear promontory measuring 9 mm x 7.5 mm and inferiorly the mass was eroding the floor of middle ear cavity with extension to hypotympanum

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Glomus tumor excision was planned. Postaural incision was performed. Cortical mastoidectomy was done. Facial canal was removed and bridge lowered. Tumor from the antrum was removed. Tympanic membrane (TM) flap elevated. Glomus tumor from the middle ear was excised using bipolar cautery. Body of the incus and malleus were removed to remove the disease from the medial part of epitympanum. Tissue measuring around 1 cm in greatest diameter excised and sent for biopsy [Figure 3]. Inlay grafting was done over the suprastructure of the stapes. Intraoperatively, there was minimal blood loss and there were no complications.
Figure 3: Excision specimen of dimension 1 cm × 0.7 mm

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Histopathological section showed a nodular lesion composed of slit-like vascular spaces lined by delicate endothelial cells with frequent nuclear hob nailing. Frequent delicate vascular spaces show papillary proliferation of the endothelial cells. Other areas showed round-to-oval tumor cells having uniform hyperchromatic nuclei and granular eosinophilic cytoplasm arranged in small nests separated by fibrovascular stroma, and further, immunohistochemical (IHC) studies including S-100 confirmed the diagnosis of glomus tumor [Figure 4].
Figure 4: Tumor cells in organoid nests separated by fibrovascular stroma

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Postoperatively, she was observed for 3 days and then discharged. She is under regular follow-up and there is complete healing of the ear cavity.

  Discussion Top

Glomus tumor or paraganglioma arises from the neuroendocrine tissue and is a slow-growing benign tumor. If it arises from cervical parasympathetic chain, it is classified as a carotid body tumor and glomus vagale tumor. The jugulotympanic glomus tumors are divided into two types: glomus tympanicum and glomus jugulare. Glomus tympanicum is the most common benign tumor of the middle ear and mastoid and the second most common temporal bone tumor.[2] Paragangliomas arise from the paraganglial cells which were ovoid cells found along with Arnold's nerve and Jacobson's nerve. They are also found in the adventitia of the jugular bulb. Their main function is to sense and regulate oxygen pressure in the middle ear cleft. They consist of Type I (chief cells) and Type II (modified Schwann cells) along with capillaries and precapillary vessels.[3] The prevalence of glomus tumor is 1 in 1 lakh, and it affects more females as compared to males. Moreover, sometimes, it is multicentric, so it is always advisable to look for other involved sites which may be the other ear or carotid body tumor. Glomus tumor is locally advancing, and it destroys adjacent bones and nerves causing neurological deficits. It has been classified by various persons, but the most accepted classification was proposed by Fisch.

  1. Type A tumor – Tumor limited to the middle ear (carries the best prognosis)
  2. Type B tumor – Tumor limited to the tympanomastoid area with no infralabyrinthine compartment involvement
  3. Type C tumor – Tumor involving the infralabyrinthine compartment of the temporal bone with extension to petrous apex; this is divided into three types: C1, C2, and C3.

    • Type C1 - Tumor with limited involvement of the vertical portion of the carotid canal
    • Type C2 - Tumor invading the vertical portion of the carotid canal
    • Type C3 - Tumor invasion of the horizontal portion of the carotid canal.

  4. Type D tumor has two types

    • Type D1 - Tumor with an intracranial extension <2 cm in diameter
    • Type D2 - Tumor with an intracranial extension >2 cm in diameter.

These tumors are slow-growing, for which the diagnosis is mostly delayed. The presenting symptoms may include conductive hearing loss, pulsatile tinnitus, middle ear mass, ear discharge, bleeding from ear, facial nerve palsy, imbalance, and other neurological deficits.[4] Sometimes, they present atypically as single-sided progressive sensorineural hearing loss.[5] However, the most common symptoms are thefirst two. A red mass behind the intact TM is the most common sign for the diagnosis of glomus tumor. On otomicroscopy, the pulsation over the mass is prominently visible. There will be blanching on seigelization. Different investigations were done to confirm the diagnosis. Pure tone audiometry reveals conductive or mixed hearing loss. Some of the tumor presents with sensorineural hearing loss due to inner ear involvement. CT and MRI scan with contrast give information about the nature and extent of the disease.[6] It presents as a soft tissue mass in the middle ear involving mastoid, hypotympanum, and ossicles and extends up to the external ear. Cholesteatoma with granulations is very rarely associated with this tumor, and its differentiation is difficult.[7] Granulations enhance with contrast, but its enhancement is very less as compared to glomus tumors.[8] MRI mainly delineates the relationship of the tumor with surrounding vital structures, such as jugular bulb, carotid artery, and cranial nerves. Differential diagnosis includes high jugular bulb, aberrant carotid artery, hamartoma, meningioma, and squamous cell carcinoma. However, with all the available investigative modalities, the preoperative diagnostic sensitivity has increased. MR angiography can delineate the feeding vessels which can be embolized for larger tumors if required. After the diagnosis, surgery remains the mainstay of treatment, but radiotherapy is also useful in some cases. Tumors up to Stage C can be excised completely, but Fisch Type D tumors are difficult to treat. The approach to the tumor depends on the extent of the disease. Complications include cranial nerve palsy, bleeding, cerebrospinal fluid leak, and meningitis. There is always a chance of recurrence if it is not cleared completely during surgery or not followed up regularly.[9] Sometimes, it may mimic granulation tissue of CSOM or may coexist with the same as in our case.[10],[11] Proper history and clinical examination [12] along with radiological investigations should be done to diagnose and manage successfully without any complications. Follow-up after the surgery is very essential to prevent any recurrence.

  Conclusion Top

Glomus tumor is a very common entity, but its association with CSOM is very uncommon, and it delays the diagnosis of the tumor. Along with proper clinical examination, radiology has got a very crucial role in diagnosis and management of the disease. Histopathology with IHC confirms the diagnosis. Surgery along with regular follow-ups prevents the recurrence.

Declaration of patient consent

The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate patient consent forms. In the form the patient(s) has/have given his/her/their consent for his/her/their images and other clinical information to be reported in the journal. The patients understand that their names and initials will not be published and due efforts will be made to conceal their identity, but anonymity cannot be guaranteed.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Al Kindy SA. Glomus tumor masquerading as an aural polyp in chronic middle ear disease: A case report. J Taibah Univ Med Sci 2016;11:172-4.  Back to cited text no. 1
O'Leary MJ, Shelton C, Giddings NA, Kwartler J, Brackmann DE. Glomus tympanicum tumors: A clinical perspective. Laryngoscope 1991;101:1038-43.  Back to cited text no. 2
Manolidis S, Shohet JA, Jackson CG, Glasscock ME 3rd. Malignant glomus tumors. Laryngoscope 1999;109:30-4.  Back to cited text no. 3
Gilbo P, Morris CG, Amdur RJ, Werning JW, Dziegielewski PT, Kirwan J, et al. Radiotherapy for benign head and neck paragangliomas: A 45-year experience. Cancer 2014;120:3738-43.  Back to cited text no. 4
Subashini P, Mohanty S. Altered clinical course of glomus tympanicum – A case report. Indian J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2008;60:35-6.  Back to cited text no. 5
Bozek P, Kluczewska E, Lisowska G, Namysłowski G. Imaging and assessment of glomus jugulare in MRI and CT techniques. Otolaryngol Pol 2011;65:218-27.  Back to cited text no. 6
Kimberly MC, Patrick JP, Rosario R, Criston VC, Jose M. Granulation tissue mimicking a glomus tumor in a patient with chronic middle ear infection. Philipp J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2016;31:31-5.  Back to cited text no. 7
Khater NH, Fahmy HS, El Shahat HM, Khater AM. Chronic inflammatory middle ear disease. Postoperative CT and MRI findings. EJRNM Egypt J Radiol Nucl Med 2015;46:629-38.  Back to cited text no. 8
Galagali JR, Singh ID, Kumar S, Gupta AK. Recurrent glomus jugulotympanicum: A case report. Int J Otorhinolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2016;2:47-52.  Back to cited text no. 9
Amin MF, El Ameen NF. Diagnostic efficiency of multidetector computed tomography versus magnetic resonance imaging in differentiation of head and neck paragangliomas from other mimicking vascular lesions: Comparison with histopathological examination. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol 2014;280:1045-53.  Back to cited text no. 10
Hsu JL, Hwang CF, Kao YF, Lui CC, Lin JW, Peng JP. Paraganglioma presenting as chronic otitis media with cholesteatoma: Pitfalls and strategies. Am J Otolaryngol 2004;25:190-4.  Back to cited text no. 11
Karunagaran A, Bharathi VJ, Karthikeyan A. Glomus tympanicum: A radiological dilemma. Indian J Otol 2017;23:131-3.  Back to cited text no. 12
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  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4]


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