Canberra parathyroid surgeon

Learn more about medical imaging used to locate the position of abnormal parathyroid glands

Locating Abnormal Parathyroid Glands

In recent years a number of sophisticated medical imaging techniques have developed to aid in the location of abnormal parathyroid glands – usually parathyroid adenomas.

Tests most commonly and easily used in Australia in today's practice include:

  • SESTAMIBI / SPECT parathyroid scanning
  • 4d-CT
  • High resolution ultrasound
  • Selective venous sampling
  • MRI


Radio-isotope images suggesting adenoma and increased activity in right upper gland position

What if there is no abnormality?

It is well known that parathyroid imaging techniques will not be able to locate the abnormality in somewhere between 10-20% of cases.

Whilst these imaging techniques are often highly useful in locating the position of abnormal parathyroid glands, it is important to appreciate that this is NOT part of the diagnosis. This is a common diagnostic error seen. The fact x-ray techniques performed as above did not find a parathyroid adenoma DOES NOT mean that you do not have hyperparathyroidism – it just means the test did not work for some reason.

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