Intraoperative assessment of parathyroid pathology in sporadic primary hyperparathyroidism: an institutional experience

Hum Pathol. 2022 May:123:40-45. doi: 10.1016/j.humpath.2022.02.012. Epub 2022 Feb 20.


Intraoperative consultation for assessment of parathyroid tissue is a controversial area of endocrine pathology. This assessment often follows historical institutional and individual surgical practitioner practices rather than documented utility data and adjuvant intraoperative testing data, including intraoperative parathyroid hormone level testing by clinical pathologists and the use of Oil Red O vital stain on frozen tissue sections by anatomic pathologists, as a means of conferring etiology of parathyroid disease. The American Association of Endocrine Surgeons (AAES), in 2016, proposed guidelines for the management of primary hyperparathyroidism, including recommendations for intraoperative consultation, recommending against the use of intraoperative frozen section to determine parathyroid functional status but in support for its use for parathyroid identification. In this series, we review a one-year, retrospective cohort of consecutive parathyroid surgeries at Massachusetts General Hospital, including over 200 cases meeting inclusion criteria for which primary hyperparathyroidism was the indication for surgery, discussing outcomes, compliance with AAES guidelines, and overall utility of intraoperative consultation and adjuvant testing.

Keywords: IOPTH; Oil Red O; Parathyroid; Parathyroid adenoma; Parathyroid hyperplasia.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Primary* / pathology
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Primary* / surgery
  • Parathyroid Glands / pathology
  • Parathyroid Glands / surgery
  • Parathyroid Hormone
  • Parathyroidectomy
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Parathyroid Hormone