Background. In an effort to determine an efficient algorithm for the evaluation of patients with parathyroid adenomas in the reoperative setting, we explored the combination of using ultrasound scans (US) and sestamibi scintigraphy as the only preoperative imaging tests. Methods. We analyzed the outcomes of 62 consecutive patients who were treated between January 1995 and May 1999 and who were referred for persistent primary hyperparathyroidism after initial surgical exploration, at which time no abnormal parathyroid glands had been found. Although all patients underwent US, computed tomography scan, magnetic resonance imaging, and sestamibi scan, we analyzed the success of localization and reoperation using only the results of US and sestamibi scan. Results. Sixty-one patients (98%) underwent curative reoperations. The sensitivity, positive predictive value, and accuracy for US were 90%, 86%, and 84%, respectively; the corresponding values for sestamibi imaging were 78%, 94%, and 74%, respectively. In 58 of 62 cases (94%) preoperative US and/or sestamibi scan accurately identified the adenoma. In 3 patients for whom combined US and sestamibi scan were inaccurate, 1 adenoma was found by intraoperative US in the strap muscle; 1 adenoma was found by blind cervical thymectomy, and 1 adenoma was found by planned sternotomy that was based on computed tomography findings. Conclusions. This study supports an algorithm of obtaining US and sestamibi scan as the initial and perhaps only preoperative localization tests for patients with primary hyperparathyroidism after failed operation, at which time no abnormal glands had been found.
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