Beyond the promontory: The multifocal origin of glomus tympanicum tumors

Jane L. Weissman, Barry E. Hirsch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: We examined other middle ear locations of glomus tympanicum tumors, which arise from glomus bodies accompanying the tympanic (Jacobson's) nerve through the middle ear. Most descriptions place these tumors on the promontory over the basal turn of the cochlea. METHODS: We identified seven patients (all women) with small surgically confirmed glomus tympanicum tumors (not completely filling the middle ear) for whom CT scans were available for retrospective review. Patients' ages ranged from 23 to 78 years at the time of the high-resolution CT study (1.0- to 1.5-mm-thick sections). RESULTS: All tumors arose on the medial wall of the middle ear. One was anterior to the promontory, beneath the cochleariform process and the semicanal of the tensor tympani. Two were inferior to the promontory, in the recess beneath the basal turn of the cochlea. Four were anteroinferior. None was actually on the apex of the promontory. CONCLUSION: Glomus tympanicum tumors may arise in various locations on the medial wall of the middle ear, where Jacobson's nerve runs. The promontory is only one middle ear location in which glomus tympanicum tumors may arise. Familiarity with the course of the tympanic nerve helps tailor the search for, and facilitates accurate identification of, tiny glomus tympanicum tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-122
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology


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