Background: Concordant parathyroid localization with sestamibi and ultrasound scans allows minimally invasive parathyroidectomy (MIP) to be performed in patients with non-familial primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT).
Aim: To investigate the financial implications of scan-directed parathyroid surgery.
Methods: Analysis of hospital records for a cohort of consecutive unselected patients treated in a tertiary referral centre.
Results: Two hundred patients (138F:62M, age 18-91years) were operated for non-familial PHPT between Jan 2003 and Oct 2007. MIP was performed in 129 patients, with a mean operative time was 35 +/- 18min. Some 75 patients were discharged the same day and the others had a total of 72 in-patient days. Bilateral neck exploration (BNE) was performed in 71 patients with negative/non-concordant scans. Mean operative time was 58 +/- 25min. Only nine patients were discharged the same day and a total of 93 in-patient days were used ( approximately 1.3days/patient). The estimated total costs incurred were pound215,035 ( approximately 290,000<euro>). These costs would have been covered by the National Tariff ( pound2,170 per parathyroidectomy) but were higher than those possibly incurred if all 200 patients would have undergone BNE without any radiological investigations ( pound166,000 approximately 224,100euro).
Conclusion: Shorter operative time and day-case admission for MIP generate costs savings that compensate only partially for the additional costs associated with parathyroid imaging studies.