Localization of Parathyroid Disease in Reoperative Patients with Primary Hyperparathyroidism

Int J Endocrinol. 2020 Jan 25:2020:9649564. doi: 10.1155/2020/9649564. eCollection 2020.


The localization of persistent or recurrent disease in reoperative patients with primary hyperparathyroidism presents challenges for radiologists and surgeons alike. In this article, we summarize the relevant imaging modalities, compare their accuracy in identifying reoperative disease, and outline their advantages and disadvantages. Accurate localization by preoperative imaging is a predictor of operative success, whereas negative or discordant preoperative imaging is a risk factor for operative failure. Ultrasound is a common first-line modality because it is inexpensive, accessible, and radiation-free. However, it is highly operator-dependent and less accurate in the reoperative setting than in the primary setting. Sestamibi scintigraphy is superior to ultrasound in localizing reoperative disease but requires radiation, prolonged imaging times, and reader experience for accurate interpretation. Like ultrasound, sestamibi scintigraphy is less accurate in the reoperative setting because reoperative patients can exhibit distorted anatomy, altered perfusion of remaining glands, and interference of radiotracer uptake. Meanwhile, four-dimensional computed tomography (4DCT) is superior to ultrasound and sestamibi scintigraphy in localizing reoperative disease but requires the use of radiation and intravenous contrast. Both 4DCT and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) do not significantly differ in accuracy between unexplored and reoperative patients. However, MRI is more costly, inaccessible, and time-consuming than 4DCT and is inappropriate as a first-line modality. Hybrid imaging with positron emission tomography and computed tomography (PET/CT) may be a promising second-line modality in the reoperative setting, particularly when first-line modalities are discordant or inconclusive. Lastly, selective venous sampling should be reserved for challenging cases in which noninvasive modalities are negative or discordant. In the challenging population of reoperative patients with PHPT, a multimodality approach that utilizes the expertise of high-volume centers can accurately localize persistent or recurrent disease and enable curative parathyroidectomy.

Publication types

  • Review