Identification of autofluorescent parathyroid glands


Cutting edge in thyroid surgery: Autofluorescence of parathyroid glands

Falco J –  J Am Coll Surg. 2016 Aug;223(2):374-80. doi: 10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2016.04.049. Epub 2016 May 20.

Hospital de Clínicas “José de San Martín”, University of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Identification of parathyroid glands may be challenging during thyroid and parathyroid surgery. Accidental resection of the glands may increase the morbidity of the surgery. The aim of this study was to evaluate accuracy in identification of autofluorescent parathyroid glands with the use of near infrared light in real time.
Patients undergoing thyroid and parathyroid surgery between June and August 2015 were included in the study. During the procedure, the surgical field was exposed to near infrared laser light in order to analyze the intensity of the fluorescence of different tissues (parathyroid glands, thyroid glands, and background). Surgical images were recorded and analyzed.
Twenty-eight patients were included in the study. Nineteen patients were women and 9 were men. Seven patients had primary hyperparathyroidism, 4 had hyperthyroidism, 3 had goiters, and 11 had thyroid cancer. Three patients had mixed pathologies, including 2 patients with thyroid cancer and primary hyperparathyroidism and 1 patient with goiter and primary hyperparathyroidism. Identification of autofluorescent parathyroid glands was achieved in all patients with near infrared light. The mean fluorescent intensity of parathyroid glands was 40.6 (±26.5), thyroid glands 31.8 (±22.3), and background 16.6 (±15.4). Parathyroid glands demonstrated statistically higher fluorescence intensity compared with the thyroid gland and background (p < 0.0014). No postoperative hypocalcemia or other complications related to the surgery were registered.
Visualization of autofluorescent parathyroid glands with the use of near infrared light allows high rates of parathyroid gland identification and could be a safe, feasible, and noninvasive method for intraoperative identification of parathyroid glands in real time. Further clinical studies must be performed to determine the cost-effectiveness and clinical application of this method.


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