A multicenter evaluation of near-infrared autofluorescence imaging of parathyroid glands in thyroid and parathyroid surgery

Published:October 27, 2022DOI:



      The usefulness of incorporating near-infrared autofluorescence into the surgical workflow of endocrine surgeons is unclear. Our aim was to develop a prospective registry and gather expert opinion on appropriate use of this technology.


      This was a prospective multicenter collaborative study of patients undergoing thyroidectomy and parathyroidectomy at 7 academic centers. A questionnaire was disseminated among 24 participating surgeons.


      Overall, 827 thyroidectomy and parathyroidectomy procedures were entered into registry: 42% of surgeons found near-infrared autofluorescence useful in identifying parathyroid glands before they became apparent; 67% correlated near-infrared autofluorescence pattern to normal and abnormal glands; 38% of surgeons used near-infrared autofluorescence, rather than frozen section, to confirm parathyroid tissue; and 87% and 78% of surgeons reported near-infrared autofluorescence did not improve the success rate after parathyroidectomy or the ability to find ectopic glands, respectively. During thyroidectomy, 66% of surgeons routinely used near-infrared autofluorescence to rule out inadvertent parathyroidectomy. However, only 36% and 45% felt near-infrared autofluorescence decreased inadvertent parathyroidectomy rates and improved ability to preserve parathyroid glands during central neck dissections, respectively.


      This survey study identified areas of greatest potential use for near-infrared autofluorescence, which can form the basis of future objective trials to document the usefulness of this technology.
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