Parathyroid scintigraphy is a radionuclide diagnostic study, the purpose of which is to detect pathologically altered neoplasms (tumors, hyperplasia, adenomas), identify their localization and clarify violations of their functional activity.
To date, parathyroid scintigraphy is considered to be one of the most effective diagnostic methods, which is based on the use of radiopharmaceuticals that have a unique ability to selectively accumulate in the tissue structure of the organ under study.
The informativeness of scintigraphy is an order of magnitude higher than other methods of examination.
Indications for parathyroid scintigraphy are those situations where accurate diagnostic information is required:
- Osteoporosis of unknown origin;
- Formation of kidney stones;
- The presence of an elevated level of parathyroid hormone in the patient;
- Suspicion of the presence of abnormalities in the development of the gland, as well as adenoma, hyperplasia, organ carcinoma, etc.;
- Planning the treatment of hyperparathyroidism.
Methodology of conducting
Before conducting a study of the parathyroid glands using the method of scintigraphy, special training is not needed, and there is also no need for the patient to follow any diet or refuse to take medications on the eve of the procedure.
The only thing that a doctor may require is not to take iodine-containing drugs a few days before the scheduled procedure — this is important in order for the results of the study to be the most informative.
During the procedure, an isotope is injected into the patient’s body, which has radiation recorded on special equipment.
The radiopharmaceutical administered to the patient actively absorbs the tissues of the parathyroid glands.
After the substance is distributed through the tissues, the specified area is scanned using a special detector on a gamma camera. With the help of the obtained image, it is possible to draw conclusions about the structural structure of the glands, their functional state, the presence of individual nodal changes, disruption of the organ and cell viability.
The scanning procedure itself takes no more than 20 minutes, but the examination process itself lasts at least 2 hours.
Radioisotopes that were used during scintigraphy disintegrate in a short time, their ability to irradiate disappears, they leave the body quite quickly and unhindered, therefore it can be argued that the radiation load on a person is very insignificant.
Conducting scintigraphy is as follows:
- The patient is injected intravenously with a radioactive isotope in the manipulation room.
The research process takes place in several stages:
- the first 10 minutes from the minute of intravenous administration of the substance;
- 2 hours after the introduction of the substance;
- 3 hours after the introduction of the substance.
- The duration of the study, its beginning and end, as well as the number of projections is strictly regulated by the doctor.
- During the study, the patient must lie motionless on his back with his head slightly thrown back.
- After the drug has been injected into the body, and the first stage of the study is over, in agreement with the attending physician, the patient may remain in the medical institution, or may leave it for a while before the start of the next stage of the study.
- The patient can receive all the results of scintigraphy in his hands 30-60 minutes after the final stage of the study.
- The high sensitivity of the method makes it possible to consider pathological changes in the organ in the early stages of their development, which makes it possible to quickly diagnose and begin adequate therapy corresponding to the stage of the disease.
- Radiopharmaceutical substances used during scintigraphy do not have side effects.
- Possible complications of parathyroid scintigraphy may be the development of individual intolerance or an allergic reaction to a radiopharmaceutical.
Even though this diagnostic procedure is harmless to humans, there are limitations and contraindications to it. So, it is undesirable to carry out scintigraphy in the following cases:
- Very obese patients
- The woman is pregnant or breastfeeding.
- The patient is too weak to perform the manipulation.
Nowadays, scintigraphy is a very common method of diagnostic examination of persons suffering from diseases of the endocrine system.
The method is absolutely not dangerous for the patient, since the radiopharmacological substance is injected into the body in a specially calculated dosage in advance.
The radiation emitted by radio tags is not capable of having a damaging effect on nearby healthy tissues of the body.
The radiation dose will be comparable to an X-ray examination.
Usually, this study is prescribed as an additional one after ultrasound diagnostics and fine needle biopsy.
Over the past twenty years, the method of scintigraphy, aimed at the study of altered parathyroid glands, has become more advanced.
Its disadvantages include the cost of the procedure — scintigraphy is several times more expensive than ultrasound examination.
Repeated parathyroid scintigraphy can be performed no earlier than two months after the previous one, and no more than several times a year.