November 4, 2015 --
Because single parathyroid tumors are the most common cause of hyperthyroidism, identifying them before surgery can help surgeons remove them completely and reduce complications -- and even morbidity rates -- for patients. Traditional methods for identifying these tumors are 2D ultrasound or sestamibi scintigraphy; however, these techniques have limitations.
A team led by Dr. Susan Frank of Albert Einstein College of Medicine compared 3D ultrasound with 2D ultrasound and sestamibi scans for localizing parathyroid glands before surgery. Their retrospective study included 155 patients: 118 had both preoperative ultrasound and sestamibi exams and 37 had 3D ultrasound before undergoing surgery for hyperthyroidism.
3D ultrasound identified the side of the parathyroid tumor in 95% of cases, compared with 57% of cases with 2D ultrasound and 82% with sestamibi scans, according to the researchers. The technology identified the exact site of the abnormal gland in 81% of cases, compared with 52% for 2D ultrasound. Used together, 3D ultrasound and sestamibi identified the side of the tumor in 92% of cases, compared with 49% with 2D ultrasound.
The findings suggest that using 3D ultrasound to locate parathyroid tumors before surgery could reduce complications and morbidity rates, Frank and colleagues concluded.