Preoperative 99Tc(m)-sestamibi scintigraphy with SPECT localizes most pathologic parathyroid glands

Langenbecks Arch Surg. 2009 Sep;394(5):811-5. doi: 10.1007/s00423-009-0536-2. Epub 2009 Jul 4.


Background and aims: Surgery is the only curative treatment for primary hyperparathyroidism. Focused surgical techniques are being practiced with increasing frequency. Preoperative imaging, such as scintigraphy, is a prerequisite for focused surgery. There is controversy about which preoperative imaging method should be used. The sensitivity reported for parathyroid scintigraphy varies considerably. This study was designed to determine the accuracy of the preoperative imaging routinely used at our institution.

Material and methods: This retrospective study included consecutive patients who underwent a routine dual-phase sestamibi-SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) scintigraphy and subsequent operation with follow-up. Scintigraphy results were evaluated by comparing the results to surgical findings and histopathology.

Results: Two hundred and sixty-four individuals entered the study. Sensitivity for scintigraphy was 84%, specificity 91%, positive predictive value 91%, and negative predictive value 84%.

Conclusions: Sestamibi-SPECT scintigraphy is a sensitive preoperative modality with high positive predictive value. Scintigraphy is a good indicator for when to perform a focused surgical approach and could often correctly guide the actual operation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Primary / diagnostic imaging*
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Primary / surgery
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parathyroid Glands / diagnostic imaging*
  • Parathyroidectomy
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Radiopharmaceuticals*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Technetium Tc 99m Sestamibi*
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon*
  • Young Adult


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Technetium Tc 99m Sestamibi