Scintigraphic techniques in primary hyperparathyroidism: from pre-operative localisation to intra-operative imaging

Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2007 Jun;34(6):926-33. doi: 10.1007/s00259-007-0388-3. Epub 2007 Mar 10.


Introduction: Primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT) is an increasingly diagnosed disease worldwide. In most cases, PHPT is related to the presence of a solitary parathyroid adenoma (PA). Fifty percent or more of newly diagnosed PHPT patients are asymptomatic, and there is debate among endocrinologists and endocrine surgeons about whether or not such patients should be treated.

Localization: Usually, in a PHPT patient with a solitary PA that is well localised pre-operatively, a parathyroidectomy with limited or minimally invasive neck exploration is offered. The diffusion of minimally invasive neck exploration procedures is a consequence of the significant improvement in the accuracy of pre-operative imaging (mainly scintigraphic) techniques; these techniques have changed the surgical strategy to PHPT, from the wide traditional bilateral neck exploration to limited neck exploration.

Review: The present review considers developments during the past 10-15 years with regard to both the accuracy of pre-operative localising imaging techniques and intra-operative minimally invasive procedures in order to provide endocrinologists and endocrine surgeons with further information about the newly available diagnostic and therapeutic tools for use in PHPT patients with a solitary PA.

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma / metabolism
  • Diffusion
  • Humans
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Primary / diagnosis*
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Primary / diagnostic imaging*
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Neck / pathology
  • Parathyroid Glands / metabolism
  • Parathyroid Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Parathyroidectomy
  • Radionuclide Imaging / methods*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / pharmacology
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Technetium Tc 99m Sestamibi / pharmacology
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon / methods


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Technetium Tc 99m Sestamibi