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Laryngoscope. 2004 Dec;114(12):2168-71.

Preoperative ultrasound is worthwhile for reoperative parathyroid surgery.

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  • 1Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Oregon Health Sciences University, 3181 SW Sam Jackson Park Road, Portland, OR 97239, U.S.A.



High-resolution ultrasound and sestamibi scanning are regarded as the first-line methods for preoperative localization of parathyroid adenomas. The utility of ultrasound in reoperative cases has been questioned because of concern that scarring will obscure normal tissue planes and vascularity that are critical to identification of an adenoma using this imaging modality. The purposes of the study were to evaluate the ability of high-resolution ultrasound to accurately localize parathyroid adenomas in the reoperative exploration and to identify any factors that influence its accuracy


Retrospective chart review at a tertiary care academic medical center.


All patients seen in referral for parathyroid surgery between May 1994 and September 2002 underwent high-resolution ultrasound as their initial diagnostic test. Patients who subsequently underwent exploration were included in the study. Intraoperative and ultrasound findings were compared.


One hundred forty-two patients were included, 116 without and 26 with prior exploration. The sensitivity and positive predictive value of ultrasound were 86.9% and 89.1%, respectively. These data were not significantly different in patients without (88.2% and 90%) and in patients with (80% and 84.2%) prior thyroid or parathyroid surgery. The overall accuracy was 79% with a false-negative rate of 11.3%. Thyroid nodularity was significantly more common (81.8%) in patients who had a false-positive or false-negative finding on ultrasound than in the total population (61.3%).


High-resolution ultrasound is an accurate method for localizing parathyroid adenomas even in patients who have previously undergone parathyroid exploration. However, the presence of thyroid nodules can interfere with its accuracy.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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