Imaging tests in HPT
Mr Hardy requests two specialised scans in all patients with HPT in which an operation is planned, to try to identify which of the four parathyroid glands is enlarged and requires removal.
|Ultrasound scan of enlarged left parathyroid gland (arrowed)|
This test is very good for identifying abnormal parathyroid glands, but the experience of the radiologist (X-ray doctor) in performing this test is critical to its success.
|Sestamibi scan of enlarged left parathyroid gland (arrowed)|
In this test a small injection into a vein of a substance which is ‘taken up’ by parathyroid glands is performed. Pictures of the neck can then be taken to try to identify the abnormal gland.
In Mr Hardy’s practice a CT scan of the neck is also taken at the same time as the sestamibi X-ray to even further increase the rate at which the enlarged gland is identified.
The reason for doing these tests before an operation is that if the abnormal gland is positively identified, a minimally invasive operation called a focused parathyroidectomy can be done to remove the gland.
Further details on this operation can be found in the section on parathyroid surgery.