The carotid body is small. About the size of an oatmeal flake. And shapeless. You wouldn’t notice it if you weren’t looking for it. But the carotid body is the most vascularized organ in the body. When it grows a tumor there can be trouble. Not because of malignancy which is rare in these tumors. But because of the carotid body’s location: in the fork of the carotid artery, near the brain, larynx, and the nerves that control the mouth, tongue and esophagus. Carotid body tumors can grow to the size of a golf ball or larger and they generally announce themselves as a lump on the neck.
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In my next blog post, find out how we remove a carotid body tumor.