Parathyroid incidentaloma discovered during thyroid ultrasound imaging

M. Pesenti, A. Frasoldati, C. Azzarito, Roberto Valcavi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We report two patients with incidentally discovered enlarged parathyroid glands while performing neck ultrasonography (US) for thyroid nodules. The parathyroid masses were seen as hypoechoic, homogeneous, oval nodules, separated from the thyroid gland. Both patients were completely asymptomatic, although subclinical evidence of hyperparathyroidism (serum PTH and calcium levels in the upper limit of the normal range, increased ionized serum calcium, osteocalcin, urinary calcium and hydroxyproline) was subsequently found in one patient. An enhanced uptake on sesta-MIBI scinti scan was concordant with the US finding in the two cases. PTH levels in the wash-out from the US-guided fine needle aspiration biopsy, confirmed the parathyroid origin of the lesions. Cytology and immunocitochemistry were, in our cases, unreliable diagnostic procedures. The extensive use of US imaging in thyroid pathology may increase the finding of US incidentally discovered parathyroid adenomas. The early detection of silent parathyroid pathologic findings may extend the natural history of these masses to a preclinical stage. Further investigations are necessary to evaluate the evolution of parathyroid incidentalomas and therefore their clinical significance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)796-799
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Endocrinological Investigation
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • Asymptomatic hyperparathyroidism
  • Incidentaloma
  • Parathyroid adenoma
  • Ultrasound imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology

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