Preoperative parathyroid and thyroid imaging using technetium Tc 99m sestamibi scintigraphy–single-photon emission computed tomography (Tc 99m MIBI SPECT) and technetium Tc 99m sodium pertechnetate, respectively, in patients with parathyroid adenomas and concomitant multinodular goiters enables the selection of those suitable for minimally invasive radio-guided surgery.
One hundred thirty patients with primary hyperparathyroidism were treated surgically during a 30-month period. Forty-one of these 130 patients had an associated multinodular goiter. All patients underwent planar and SPECT parathyroid scintigraphy using Tc 99m MIBI, and thyroid scintigraphy with technetium Tc 99m pertechnetate 2 to 5 days before surgery. On the morning of surgery each patient was reinjected with Tc 99m MIBI for intraoperative localization and validation. Minimally invasive radio-guided parathyroidectomy was performed using a handheld gamma-detection device with a thyroid probe. Removed glands were submitted for histopathologic examination for comparison with the scintigraphic results. Quantitative analysis of parathyroid activity was performed.
Minimally invasive, radioguided parathyroidectomy was successfully performed in 21 (51%) of 41 patients who had a concomitant multinodular goiter. The remaining 20 patients underwent standard neck exploratory surgery because of associated thyroid disease; 5 of them had malignant thyroid disease. Among the 41 patients planar scintigraphy correctly identified 28 adenomas (68%). Single-photon emission computed tomographic imaging identified an additional 11 adenomas for a sensitivity of 95% and a specificity of 100%. Moreover, SPECT imaging correctly identified malignant thyroid nodules in 4 of 5 patients. Technetium Tc 99m MIBI retention was noted in only 25 adenomas (61%) while the remaining adenomas demonstrated a rapid washout. The average uptake ratio of parathyroid counts to maximum thyroid activity was significantly correlated with parathyroid hormone levels before surgery (P = .04).
Our data encourage the use of preoperative SPECT imaging of parathyroid adenomas in patients who have multinodular goiters to select those suitable for minimally invasive radioguided surgery. This technique also offers important information regarding thyroid nodules that are suspicious for malignancy. The intraoperative gamma-probe technique enables the surgeon to focus his or her search, provides instant feedback regarding the progress of the operation, reduces surgical trauma and complications, and yields better cosmetic results. Patients with higher presurgical parathyroid hormone levels may especially benefit from radioguided surgery.