Secondary and tertiary hyperparathyroidism: role of preoperative localization

ANZ J Surg. 2007 Oct;77(10):880-2. doi: 10.1111/j.1445-2197.2007.04264.x.


Background: The usefulness of both technetium Tc-99m sestamibi (MIBI) scintigraphy and ultrasonography (USG) scan for the detection of enlarged parathyroid glands secondary to renal hyperparathyroidism is rarely addressed.

Methods: A retrospective study from July 1999 to June 2005 was carried out on patients with secondary and tertiary hyperparathyroidism to determine the role of preoperative localization.

Results: In the 5 years, 73 patients with renal hyperparathyroidism underwent initial bilateral neck exploration with total parathyroidectomy. Four patients underwent neck exploration with parathyroidectomy for persistent hyperparathyroidism. Two patients underwent neck exploration with parathyroidectomy for recurrent hyperparathyroidism. For patients with initial secondary/tertiary hyperparathyroidism, MIBI scintigraphy correctly showed 101 of 276 (36.6%) surgically confirmed enlarged parathyroids, whereas USG scan showed 99 of 276 (35.9%) surgically confirmed enlarged parathyroids. For persistent or recurrent secondary/tertiary hyperparathyroidism, MIBI scintigraphy and USG scan had sensitivity of 100 and 50%, respectively.

Conclusions: In conclusion, preoperative localization studies have a limited value when used before first neck exploration in secondary/tertiary hyperparathyroidism because of the poor results in identifying all parathyroid glands. In persistent/recurrent hyperparathyroidism, it may play a useful role in localization of the missed or ectopic parathyroid gland.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Secondary / diagnostic imaging*
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Secondary / pathology
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Secondary / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parathyroid Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Parathyroid Neoplasms / surgery
  • Preoperative Care
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Technetium Tc 99m Sestamibi


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Technetium Tc 99m Sestamibi