Role of 99mTc-sestamibi SPECT in accurate selection of primary hyperparathyroid patients for minimally invasive radio-guided surgery

Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2006 Sep;33(9):1091-4. doi: 10.1007/s00259-006-0162-y. Epub 2006 Jun 28.


Purpose: A prerequisite for optimum minimally invasive radio-guided surgery (MIRS) for primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT) is the demonstration of significant uptake of (99m)Tc-sestamibi in a parathyroid adenoma (PA). The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical role or (99m)Tc-sestamibi SPECT in selecting patients for this procedure.

Methods: Fifty-four consecutive PHPT patients were evaluated by single-session (99m)Tc-pertechnetate/(99m)Tc-sestamibi planar subtraction scintigraphy, followed by (99m)Tc-sestamibi SPECT acquisition to localise hyperfunctioning PAs and assist in planning the surgical approach.

Results: Scintigraphy showed the presence of a solitary PA in 47/54 patients (87%) and two or more PAs in four patients (7.4%); it was negative in the remaining three patients (5.6%). The overall sensitivity of (99m)Tc-sestamibi scintigraphy was 94.6%. In 7/54 patients, the PA was located deep in the para-oesophageal/paratracheal space. So far, 22 patients with scintigraphic evidence of a solitary PA (in four of whom the PA was located deep in the neck) have undergone successful MIRS using the low 37 MBq (1 mCi) (99m)Tc-sestamibi dose protocol. Intraoperative quick parathyroid hormone (QPTH) assay demonstrated a fall in all 22 patients, thus confirming successful removal of the hyperfunctioning PA. No major surgical complications were observed. After a period of follow-up ranging between 6 and 27 months (median 13 months), no case of persistent/recurrent PHPT was recorded. When comparing the parathyroid to background (P/B) ratio measured at planar and SPECT preoperative scintigraphy with that measured intraoperatively with the gamma probe, a good linear correlation was found between the SPECT and the intraoperative gamma probe measurements (r=0.89; p<0.01) but no correlation was found with planar scintigraphic data.

Conclusion: Our preliminary data suggest that measurement of the P/B ratio by means of (99m)Tc-sestamibi SPECT is more accurate in predicting the intraoperative measurements with the gamma probe. In this respect, a preoperative (99m)Tc-sestamibi SPECT acquisition should be recommended for better selection of PHPT patients in whom a MIRS approach can be offered.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma / diagnostic imaging
  • Adenoma / surgery
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Primary / diagnostic imaging*
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Primary / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures
  • Parathyroid Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Parathyroid Neoplasms / surgery
  • Patient Selection
  • Radio Waves
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Radiopharmaceuticals*
  • Technetium Tc 99m Sestamibi*


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Technetium Tc 99m Sestamibi