Background: The purpose of this study was to assess the contribution of technetium 99m sestamibi iodine 123 (T/S) imaging to preoperative and intraoperative management of patients with persistent hyperparathyroidism.
Methods: During a period of 10 months, all patients being prepared for reoperative parathyroid surgery (n = 10), two patients deemed significant operative risks (one patient with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and one patient with severe cervical spine ankylosing spondylitis), and two patients who had undergone prior thyroid operation were studied with T/S imaging. Six patients undergoing reoperative surgery had undergone one, three had undergone two, and one had undergone three prior procedures.
Results: T/S imaging correctly localized 14 of 16 parathyroid tumors. By comparison, only 1 of 6 thallium technetium and 3 of 12 computed tomography (CT) scans (in seven patients) were positive. T/S imaging guided the reoperative surgical approach accurately in 12 of 14 patients, including one case of an undescended left lower gland at the level of the mandible and identification of a third gland on the left in another case. Sternal split was required to remove three lesions localized by T/S imaging, two beneath the aortic arch and one nestled in the aortopulmonary window in a patient who had undergone two prior procedures including a sternal split. In these three cases T/S imaging was particularly useful, because CT scans, thallium technetium scans, magnetic resonance imaging, and arteriography were not diagnostic. The outcome after operation was favorable in all 14 cases, with correction of hypercalcemia and no permanent laryngeal nerve injuries or hypocalcemia.
Conclusions: We concluded that T/S imaging is more accurate than thallium technetium and CT scans in evaluation of patients with persistent hyperparathyroidism.