99mTc-MIBI radio-guided surgery in primary hyperparathyroidism: A prospective study of 128 patients

Domenico Rubello, D. Casara, G. Saladini, A. Piotto, C. Pagetta, M. R. Pelizzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims and study design: We investigated the role of an intraoperative gamma probe (IGP) technique in 128 patients with primary hyperparathyroidism (HPT). The patients were evaluated before surgery by 99mTcO4/MIBI scintigraphy and neck ultrasound and then operated on by the same surgical team. The IGP technique consisted of the injection of a low dose (37 MBq) of 99mTc-MIBI in the operating room shortly before the start of surgery. Quick parathyroid hormone (QPTH) was routinely measured during the operation. Results: In 94/97 patients (96.9%) with a preoperative diagnosis of solitary parathyroid adenoma (PA) minimally invasive radioguided surgery (MIRS) was successfully performed; in the other 3/97 patients (3.1%) conversion to bilateral neck exploration (BNE) was required because of the intraoperative diagnosis of parathyroid carcinoma in two cases and multiglandular disease (MGD) in one. MIRS was successfully performed also in 23 patients who had undergone previous thyroid or parathyroid surgery. In 31 patients with a preoperative diagnosis of MGD (n = 5) or concomitant nodular goiter (n = 26) the IGP technique was used during a bilateral neck exploration. Among these patients IGP was useful in localizing an ectopic parathyroid gland in the thymus in one case of MGD and a PA located deep in the neck (n = 2) or ectopic at the carotid bifurcation (n = 1) in three cases with nodular goiter. However, in several other patients with nodular goiter it was difficult for the probe to distinguish intraoperatively between thyroid nodules and PA located close to the thyroid gland. Conclusions: It can be concluded that a) in primary HPT patients with a high likelihood (according to scintigraphic and ultrasound findings) of being affected by a single PA and with a normal thyroid gland, the IGP technique appears useful in MIRS; b) a 99mTc-MIBI dose as low as 37 MBq appears to be adequate to perform MIRS; c) the measurement of QPTH is strongly recommended in HPT patients selected for MIRS to confirm the radicality of parathyroidectomy; d) MIRS can be useful also in HPT patients who underwent previous parathyroid or thyroid surgery to limit the surgical trauma of reoperation and minimize complications; e) with the exception of PAs located at ectopic sites or deep in the neck, the IGP technique does not seem to be recommendable in HPT patients with concomitant nodular goiter.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Tc-MIBI scintigraphy
  • Intraoperative gamma probe
  • Minimally invasive parathyroidectomy
  • Primary hyperparathyroidism
  • Radioguided parathyroidectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research


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