Background: This study evaluated the accuracy of single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT)-CT imaging for the preoperative localization of parathyroid adenomas.
Methods: This study included both a quantitative and qualitative accuracy measure. The quantitative measure was the distance between the location of the adenoma on the SPECT-CT scan and the location of the adenoma intraoperatively. Qualitatively, surgeons were asked whether or not the adenoma was in the exact location predicted by the SPECT-CT scan. The time from initial incision to identification of the parathyroid was recorded. Patients referred to London Health Sciences Centre for a suspected parathyroid adenoma were eligible for this study.
Results: Twenty-three patients participated in this study. Eighteen (78.3%) had a single adenoma, 2 (8.7%) had double adenomas, and 3 (13.0%) had multiglandular hyperplasia. SPECT-CT correctly detected and localized 16 of 18 (88.9%) cases of single parathyroid adenomas. The mean distance between the location of the adenoma on the SPECT-CT scan and the location of the adenoma intraoperatively was 16.3 mm (95% < or = 19.0 mm). For single adenomas, the median time from skin incision to identification was 14 minutes (range, 8-40 minutes). The preoperative detection and localization of a single focus of sestamibi uptake yielded a parathyroid adenoma in the specified location in 80.0% of cases (95% CI, 97.4-66.5%).
Conclusions: SPECT-CT predicted the intraoperative location of a single parathyroid adenoma within 19.0 mm with 95% confidence. The correct detection and localization of multiglandular disease remains difficult.