Role of ultrasound and color Doppler imaging in the detection of carotid paragangliomas

S. Demattè, D. Di Sarra, F. Schiavi, A. Casadei, G. Opocher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Carotid body paragangliomas (PGLs) are highly vascularized lesions that arise from the paraganglia located at the carotid bifurcation. Purpose: To evaluate the usefulness of gray-scale ultrasound (US) and color Doppler ultrasound (CDUS) in the detection and follow-up of carotid PGLs of the neck. Materials and methods: The authors retrospectively reviewed US and CDUS examinations of the neck performed in 40 patients with PGL syndrome type 1 and single or bilateral neck PGLs confirmed by CT or MRI; the patients had a total of 60 PGLs of the neck. US and CDUS outcome was compared to the outcome of second-line imaging techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT). The following findings were considered: presence/absence of focal lesions at US imaging and difference in maximum diameter of the lesion measured at US and MRI/CT. Results were compared using the Student's t-test. Results: Of the 60 PGLs of the neck only 5 (8.3%) were not visualized at US or CDUS examination. The difference in maximum diameter of these lesions measured at CT/MRI and US/CDUS ranged between -5 mm and +16 mm (mean difference 2.2 ± 6.0). This difference was statistically significant (p = 0.008). Conclusions: US and CDUS are useful methods for identifying carotid PGLs also measuring less than 10 mm in diameter. However, diagnostic accuracy of US and CDUS is reduced in the measurement of the exact dimensions of the lesions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-163
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Ultrasound
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012


  • Carotid body paraganglioma
  • Carotid-body tumor
  • Color Doppler ultrasound
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Internal Medicine


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