Nuclear Medicine Methods for Evaluation of Abnormal Parathyroid Glands in Patients with Primary and Secondary Hyperparathyroidism

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Considered rare disease in the past, primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT) has dramatically increased in incidence over the past thirty years with the introduction of routine calcium measurements; it is now approximately 42 per 100 000 persons. By far, the most common lesion found in patients with PHPT is the solitary parathyroid adenoma, occurring in 85%-90% of patients, while in the rest 10%- 15% primary hyperplasia of the parathyroid glands is present. Currently, the most widely used surgical approach is minimally invasive parathyroidectomy which is associated with less post-surgery complications and shorter operation time. To be successful this procedure needs to rely on a precise preoperative localization of the abnormal parathyroid glands, hence preoperative parathyroid imaging gained so large importance. The rationale for locating abnormal parathyroid tissue prior to surgery is that the glands can be notoriously unpredictable in their location. There is a general consensus that the best imaging procedure identifying abnormal parathyroid glands is the preoperative scintigraphy with 99mTc-sestamibi or 99mTc-tetrofosmin. It is characterized with high sensitivity and specificity exceeding those of ultrasound, CT or MRI. Combining scintigraphy with the other imaging techniques increases the precision for topic localization.

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