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August 1994

Localization Procedures in Patients With Persistent or Recurrent Hyperparathyroidism

Author Affiliations

From the Surgical (Drs Rodriquez, Tezelman, Siperstein, and Clark) and Nuclear (Dr Morita) Medicine Services, the University of California—San Francisco/Mount Zion Medical Center, the Surgical Service, the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center (Dr Duh), and the Departments of Surgery (Drs Rodriquez, Tezelman, Siperstein, Duh, and Clark) and Radiology (Drs Higgins, Morita, and Dowd), the University of California—San Francisco.

Arch Surg. 1994;129(8):870-875. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1994.01420320096019

Objective:  To determine the accuracy of noninvasive and invasive localization studies in patients with persistent or recurrent hyperparathyroidism (HPT).

Design and Setting:  Reoperations based on patients who were treated surgically for recurrent or persistent HPT at the University of California—San Francisco Hospitals from 1982 to 1993.

Patients:  This study evaluated 174 localization studies performed in 152 patients before reoperation (110 women and 42 men).

Main Outcome Measures:  The accuracy of localization studies, including ultrasonography, thallous chloride Tl 201–technetium Tc 99m pertechnetate scanning, technetium Tc 99m sestamibi scanning, magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography, and selective venous catheterization, were evaluated, as were the results of parathyroid reoperations.

Results:  A total of 174 consecutive reoperations were performed in 152 patients with HPT (persistent, 113; recurrent, 39; mean age, 54 years; range, 21 to 88 years). One hundred thirty-three patients had primary HPT, 15 had secondary HPT, and four had tertiary HPT. Overall, 141 (93%) became normocalcemic, two (1%) became hypocalcemic, and nine (6%) remained hypercalcemic. Abnormal parathyroid glands at reoperation were situated in a normal location in 77 cases (44%), in the mediastinum in 37 cases (22%), in a deep cervical location in 34 cases (19%), or in an intrathyroidal location in 14 cases (8%), or were undescended in four cases (2%); supernumerary glands were found in 26 cases (15%). Some patients had more than one remaining abnormal gland. Selective venous catheterization with a parathyroid hormone assay was done in cases in which the results of noninvasive localization studies were equivocal or negative, and it frequently converted an equivocal result of a localization study to a definitely positive result. There were no complications from the localization studies. At reoperation, permanent hypoparathyroidism that required parathyroid autotransplantation of cryopreserved tissue developed in two patients and two patients had recurrent laryngeal nerve palsies.

Conclusion:  We currently recommend using ultrasonography and technetium Tc 99m sestamibi scanning and magnetic resonance imaging for patients with recurrent or persistent HPT. Selective venous catheterization with a parathyroid hormone assay is done selectively. Localization tests decrease morbidity and improve overall results in these patients.(Arch Surg. 1994;129:870-875)