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Ultrasonography: Highly Accuracy Technique for Preoperative Localization of Parathyroid Adenoma


  • Editor's Note: This Manuscript was accepted for publication April 8, 2008.


Objectives/Hypothesis: This study evaluates the accuracy of ultrasonography in guided unilateral parathyroidectomy to treat primary hyperparathyroidism.

Study Design: Retrospective study.

Methods: Two hundred fifty-three patients with primary hyperparathyroidism underwent preoperative ultrasonography. Two groups were defined. Group 1 included the patients in whom the preoperative cervical ultrasound localized one abnormal parathyroid gland; these patients underwent unilateral surgical exploration of the neck under local anesthesia. Group 2 included the patients who had a bilateral neck exploration under general anesthesia when the preoperative examination was equivocal or failed to localize the lesion, when concomitant thyroid pathology indicated thyroidectomy, and when justified by the surgical findings.

Results: Sensitivity and positive predictive value of ultrasonography in detecting abnormal parathyroid gland were 96% and 98%, respectively. Cervical ultrasound correctly identified, 96% and 85% of abnormal glands in groups 1 and 2, respectively. The presence of thyroid nodular disease did not affect ultrasonographic accuracy. Sonographic examination decreased the operative time of parathyroidectomy to an average of 15 minutes. Mediastinal and retroesophageal localizations of abnormal parathyroid gland adversely affected the accuracy of the ultrasound. No cervical hematoma was noted. Transient recurrent laryngeal nerve palsy occurred in four patients. Twenty-three patients required postoperative calcium supplementation for 2 to 4 months, and all were normocalcemic at follow-up.

Conclusions: Cervical ultrasound is a reliable preoperative exploration allowing parathyroidectomy via unilateral approach under local anesthesia.