How Long Will It Take To Recover From Paraganglioma & How Long Do The Symptoms Last?

Paraganglioma is often a slow-growing non-cancerous tumor and the recovery after surgery will take months to years until the medications slowly replace the hormones.1, 2

The initial symptoms can be several episodes and each episode can last few seconds, a few minutes, several months, and even several years in worst cases.3

Long-term follow-up is crucial to assess and prevent the recurrence of the condition and the symptoms can last for several years.4

How Long Will It Take To Recover From Paraganglioma?

Paraganglioma is often a slow-growing non-cancerous tumor and the recovery after surgery will take months to years until the medications slowly replace the hormones. A medical study was conducted to assess the long-term survival of paraganglioma of the head and neck. The study was based using nationwide historical data in paraganglioma patients between 1945 to 1960. Mortality rates were obtained from the national bureau of genealogy.

The survival rates of paragangliomas patients were compared based on age and sex. In those decades, the success rates of surgery were less and involved more complications. The survival rate was negative, and most patients require long-term recovery after surgery. Only a small percentage of patients recovered completely without remaining symptoms.

They required regular physical and medical examinations and their health care provider wanted to keep track of the patient’s recovery for several months or years. This is because most surgery will involve the removal of both the adrenal glands and therefore medication would be required to reinstate the hormones produced by the adrenal glands.1, 2

How Long Do The Symptoms Of Paraganglioma Last?

The initial symptoms can be several episodes and each episode can last few seconds, a few minutes, several months, and even several years in worst cases. Paraganglioma is characterized by the presence of excess catecholamine hormones and this hormone constituting norepinephrine and epinephrine produces symptoms such as blood pressure, profuse sweating, and heart palpitation.

Surgery is the first choice of treatment to remove paraganglioma tumor if possible. The condition that is left untreated will result in life-threatening complications and worst-case scenarios can lead to death as well.

Surgery cannot help when the condition worsens and also in cases where there is a distant metastatic spread, surgery isn’t an option. Drug therapy and other treatment help manage the symptoms and extend survival however symptoms may last a lifetime.3

Long-term follow-up is crucial to assess and prevent the recurrence of the condition and the symptoms can last for several years. Most warning signs are noticed less than an hour but in sporadic instances, it will last for several days. These symptoms could be due to physical, social, or emotional and drug-associated problems.

Certain factors can increase the blood pressure levels that include bending over, abdominal pressure, anxiety, smoking & drinking, and eating foods high in tyramine.4

Paraganglioma is a non-cancerous tumor that originates in the adrenal glands that produce adrenalin and non-adrenalin hormones that play major roles in the regulation of stress to combat imminent danger. When the tumor becomes cancerous it produces too many hormones that induce high blood pressure and can turn dangerous.

Pheochromocytoma can rarely turn cancerous that origin in the adrenal glands. However early diagnosis and treatment of the condition are crucial to avoid unsafe blood pressure. Untreated condition is dangerous and results in heart attack, stroke, and poor functioning of the arteries.

References:

  1. de Flines, Jeanette, et al. “Normal Life Expectancy for Paraganglioma Patients: a 50-Year-Old Cohort Revisited.” Skull Base: Official Journal of North American Skull Base Society … [Et Al.], Thieme Medical Publishers, Nov. 2011, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3312129/.
  2. “Paragangliomas – Treatment, Types & Symptoms.” Mount Sinai Health System, www.mountsinai.org/locations/cerebrovascular-center/conditions/tumors/paragangliomas.
  3. “Neuroendocrine Tumors.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 14 Mar. 2020, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/paraganglioma/cdc-20352970.
  4. “Pheochromocytoma and Paraganglioma Symptoms and Treatment: John Wayne Cancer Institute.” Endocrine, 5 Nov. 2019, www.saintjohnscancer.org/endocrine/conditions/pheochromocytoma-and-paraganglioma/.

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