We evaluated outcomes after carotid body tumor resection (CBR) requiring vascular reconstruction. Patients undergoing CBR at an academic medical center between 1990 and 2005 were identified. Medical records were retrospectively reviewed for clinical data, operative details, Shamblin's classification, tumor pathology, complications, and mortality. Comparisons were performed between those undergoing CBR alone and CBR requiring vascular reconstruction (CBR-VASC). Of the 71 CBRs performed in 62 patients, 16 required vascular reconstruction (23%). Although there was no difference in mean tumor size (CBR 29.1 +/- 11.9 mm, CBR-VASC 32.5 +/- 9.9 mm; p = 0.133), carotid body tumors were more commonly Shamblin's I when CBR was performed alone (CBR 53% vs. CBR-VASC 25%, p = 0.045) and Shamblin's II/III when vascular reconstruction was required (CBR 47% vs. CBR-VASC 75%, p = 0.045). There was also a significant difference in malignant tumor pathology when vascular reconstruction was required (CBR 4.4% vs. CBR-VASC 25%, p = 0.034). Cranial nerve dysfunction was higher in patients requiring vascular repair (CBR 27% vs. CBR-VASC 63%, p = 0.012), but there was no difference in baroreflex failure (CBR 7.27% vs. CBR-VASC 0%, p = 0.351), Horner's syndrome (CBR 5.5% vs. CBR-VASC 6.25%, p = 0.783), or first bite syndrome (CBR 7.27% vs. CBR-VASC 12.5%, p = 0.877). There were no perioperative strokes in either group, and one death was unrelated to operation. When required, carotid artery reconstruction at the time of CBR can be performed safely. Although cranial nerve dysfunction is more common when vascular repair is required, this is more likely related to locally advanced disease and tumor pathology rather than operative techniques.