Developing a Clinical Prototype to Guide Surgeons for Intraoperative Label-Free Identification of Parathyroid Glands in Real Time.

Thomas G, McWade MA, Paras C, Mannoh EA, Sanders ME, White LM, Broome JT, Phay JE, Baregamian N, Solórzano CC, Mahadevan-Jansen A
Thyroid 28 1517-1531 11/01/2018


BACKGROUND: Patients undergoing thyroidectomy may have inadvertent damage or removal of the parathyroid gland(s) due to difficulty in real-time parathyroid identification. Near-infrared autofluorescence (NIRAF) has been demonstrated as a label-free modality for intraoperative parathyroid identification with high accuracy. This study presents the translation of that approach into a user-friendly clinical prototype for rapid intraoperative guidance in parathyroid identification.

METHODS: A laboratory (lab)-built spectroscopy system that measures NIRAF in tissue was evaluated for identifying parathyroid glands in vivo across 162 patients undergoing thyroidectomy and/or parathyroidectomy. Based on these results, a clinical prototype called PTeye was designed with a user-friendly interface and subsequently investigated in 35 patients. The performance of the lab-built system and the clinical prototype were concurrently compared side by side by a single user with 20 patients in each group. The influence of (i) intrapatient and interpatient variability of NIRAF in thyroid and parathyroid glands and (ii) thyroid and parathyroid pathology on intraoperative parathyroid identification were investigated. The effect of blood on NIRAF intensity of parathyroid and thyroid was tested ex vivo with the PTeye system to assess if a hemorrhagic surgical field would affect parathyroid identification. Accuracy of both systems were determined by correlating the acquired data with either visual confirmation by a surgeon for unexcised parathyroid glands or histology reports for excised parathyroid glands.

RESULTS: The overall accuracy of the lab-built system in guiding parathyroid identification was 92.5%, while the PTeye system achieved an accuracy of 96.1%. Unlike the lab-built system, the PTeye could guide parathyroid identification even as the operating room lights remained on and required only 25% of the laser power used by the lab-built setup. Parathyroid glands had elevated NIRAF intensity compared to thyroid and other neck tissues, regardless of thyroid or parathyroid pathology. Blood did not seem to affect tissue NIRAF measurements obtained with both systems.

CONCLUSION: In this study, the clinical prototype PTeye demonstrated high accuracy for label-free intraoperative parathyroid identification. The intuitive interface of the PTeye that can guide in identifying parathyroid tissue in the presence of ambient room lights suggests that it is a reliable and easy-to-use tool for surgical personnel.

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