Minimal morbidity occurs with resection of most carotid body tumors (CBT). With larger tumors significant injury to the cranial nerves has been reported. In order to assess the operative sequelae rate, 30 patients with CBT were reviewed. Sixteen patients either presented with bilateral carotid body tumors or had previously undergone a resection of the contralateral carotid body tumors, for a total carotid body tumor count of 46. Sixteen patients demonstrated a familial pattern while 14 were nonfamilial. Within the familial group, 14 of 16 presented with multiple paragangliomas as compared to 6 of 14 in the nonfamilial group. Tumor size ranged from 0.8 to 12 cm. Vascular replacement occurred in 2 of 20 patients with tumors < 5.0 cm, compared with 5 of 9 with tumors > 5.0 cm. Four patients lost cranial nerves with the resection: superior laryngeal nerve (SLN), 4; cranial nerve X, 1; cranial nerve XII, 1. Ten patients developed baroreceptor failure secondary to bilateral loss of carotid sinus function. First-bite pain occurred in 10 of 25 operative patients. Cranial nerve loss can be minimal with resection of carotid body tumors, however, baroreceptor failure and first-bite pain are postoperative sequelae that are often disregarded in the postoperative period.