Parathyroid Imaging Practices for Primary Hyperparathyroidism Without Previous Operations Among Endocrine Surgery Program Directors

Academic Article


  • Background: Attempts at preoperative localization of abnormal parathyroid gland(s) in primary hyperparathyroidism (pHPT) can be performed with a variety of modalities. Study utilization is surgeon-specific with highly variable opinions in parathyroid surgery. As more people are diagnosed with pHPT, the complexity of the disease has given rise to variation in management. This heterogeneity raises the question of the true clinical practice of imaging among individual endocrine surgeons. Methods: To better understand the preoperative parathyroid imaging practices of endocrine surgeons, an email-based survey was disseminated to the program directors of 22 American Association of Endocrine Surgeons fellowship programs querying them on their initial diagnostic test of choice for pHPT. Clinical support team members from each respective program were subsequently contacted and answers were compared. Results: Sixty-eight percent (15/22) of clinical team members recommended either an additional (12/15) or different imaging test (3/15) than what was recommended by their institution’s endocrine surgeon. The most common initial imaging test that was repeated by both the endocrine surgeon and clinical team member was neck ultrasound; 33% of clinical team members (7/22) responded concordantly to their surgeon with ultrasound as the initial recommendation. Discussion: Significant variability exists in the preoperative approach to patients with hyperparathyroidism. Here, we demonstrate that inconsistency in preoperative imaging recommendations even extends to within an individual surgeon’s practice based on the impact of the clinical support team, highlighting the role for improved clinical protocols within an institution’s clinical team.
  • Published In

  • American Surgeon  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Obiarinze R; Chen H; Lindeman B; Fazendin J; Ramonell KM