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INTRODUCTION: Redo parathyroidectomy for persistent/recurrent primary hyperparathyroidism is associated with a higher risk of complications and should be planned only with convincing localisation. We assessed whether 18fluorocholine positron emission tomography/computed tomography could identify parathyroid adenoma(s) in patients with persistent/recurrent primary hyperparathyroidism and negative conventional scans. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A departmental database was used to identify patients with failed localisation attempts (sestamibi single photon emission computed tomography/computed tomography and/or computed tomography/magnetic resonance imaging and/or selective parathyroid hormone sampling) after previous unsuccessful surgery for primary hyperparathyroidism. 18Fluorocholine positron emission tomography was performed in all patients and redo surgery offered to those with positive findings. RESULTS: 18Fluorocholine positron emission tomography incorporating arterial and portal phase enhanced computed tomography was performed in 12 patients with persistent/recurrent primary hyperparathyroidism (four men and eight women). Seven patients (58%) were cured after excision of adenomas located in ectopic positions (n = 3) or in anatomical position (n = 4). Five patients (42%) had persistent hypercalcaemia and repeat 18fluorocholine scan confirmed that the area highlighted on preoperative scans was excised. The arterial phase enhancement of the computed tomography was significantly different between cured and not-cured patients (P = 0.007). All seven cured patients had either a strong or weak enhancing pattern on computed tomography. Standardised uptake value at 60 minutes in patients with successful surgery (range 2.7-15.7, median 4.05) was higher than in patients with failed surgery (range 1.8-5.8, median 3.2) but was not statistically significant (P = 0.300). DISCUSSION: 18fluorocholine scanning can identify elusive parathyroid adenomas, including those that are ectopic, and is useful in the management of patients with persistent/recurrent primary hyperparathyroidism when first-line scans are negative. The grading of the arterial phase of computed tomography can help to differentiate between true adenomas and false positive targets (lymph nodes).

Original publication




Journal article


Ann R Coll Surg Engl

Publication Date



1 - 7


F-fluorocholine, Oncology, PET/CT, Parathyroidectomy, Positron emission tomography/computed tomography, Primary hyperparathyroidism