New trends in parathyroid scintigraphy

Eur J Nucl Med. 2001 Sep;28(9):1409-20. doi: 10.1007/s002590100596.


The paper focusses on the recent advances in parathyroid imaging in both diagnostic and surgical fields which justify the present favourable trend towards a considerable expansion of nuclear medicine applications in this area. The main methodological advances in parathyroid scintigraphy are the rebirth of the dual-tracer (subtraction) technique with technetium-99m sestamibi, the possibility of also using 99mTc-tetrofosmin within a dual-tracer (subtraction) methodology and the more extensive use of single-photon emission tomography, which the authors believe will become the standard methodology. The indications for parathyroid scintigraphy have been affected by advances in hyperparathyroidism surgery, including wider use of unilateral neck exploration and of minimally invasive radioguided surgery. As these techniques can only be performed in hyperparathyroid patients with a single adenoma, careful pre-operative assessment is required, and parathyroid scintigraphy undoubtedly is the most accurate localisation method. To date, the majority of papers have also demonstrated the cost-effectiveness of scintigraphically guided limited neck surgery. The authors conclude that: (1) parathyroid scintigraphy can be recommended not only in persistent or recurrent hyperparathyroidism but also in hyperparathyroid patients prior to first surgery; (2) scintigraphy should always be performed by applying the most accurate technique available because reliable scintigraphy gains or reinforces the surgeon's trust, reliably guides cost-effective operative strategies and justifies the recognition of new potential diagnostic indications.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma / diagnostic imaging
  • Adenoma / surgery
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Humans
  • Hyperparathyroidism / diagnostic imaging
  • Hyperparathyroidism / surgery
  • Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures
  • Organophosphorus Compounds
  • Organotechnetium Compounds
  • Parathyroid Glands / diagnostic imaging*
  • Parathyroid Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Parathyroid Neoplasms / surgery
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Subtraction Technique
  • Technetium Tc 99m Sestamibi
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon / economics


  • Organophosphorus Compounds
  • Organotechnetium Compounds
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • technetium tc-99m tetrofosmin
  • Technetium Tc 99m Sestamibi