In primary hyperparathyroidism (pHPT), parathyroidectomy is the treatment of choice, but anatomic variations of ectopic glands may cause surgical failure. Reliable preoperative noninvasive localization procedures would have a positive impact on the operative time and increase recovery rate. We retrospectively evaluated 186 patients with pHPT who were studied before successful parathyroidectomy by double tracer scintigraphy (99mTc-pertechnetate+201TI chloride or 99mTc-pertechnetate +99mTc-sestamibi, 160 patients), ultrasonography (148 patients) and computerized tomography (CT) scan (92 patients). During bilateral neck exploration, 159 (85.5%) single adenomas, 6 (3.2%) parathyroid carcinomas, and 3 (1.6%) double adenomas were found. Moreover, 18 (9.7%) patients had diffuse chief cells parathyroid hyperplasia. Removed parathyroid glands were in ectopic sites in 41 (22.0%) cases, mainly localized in the upper mediastinum or behind the esophagus. The overall sensitivity was 83.5 and 85.2% for 99mTc-pertechnetate+201TI chloride and 99mTc-pertechnetate+99mTc-sestamibi scintigraphy respectively, 80.4% for CT scan and 81.1% for ultrasonography. In patients with ectopic glands, sensitivity was 81.2, 79.5, 73.3 and 81.6% respectively. In 36 out of 41 patients with ectopic glands in whom the removed parathyroids were correctly localized, mean operative time was 95 min, and in 5 patients without preoperative localization it was 260 min. In conclusion, in pHPT, preoperative localization of an enlarged parathyroid is helpful, especially in ectopic adenomas and in anatomic variations in location, and it has been proved to reduce operative time and morbidity rate.
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