Four functioning cystic parathyroid glands were evaluated with computed tomography (CT) and sonography in four patients, only one of whom had prior surgery. Sonography demonstrated solid lesions of decreased echogenicity with fluid-filled cavities near the lower thyroid poles or in the posterosuperior mediastinum. On CT the cystic parts of the lesions were of low attenuation (1-44 H), often with a well defined wall that was better demonstrated after intravenous contrast administration. Fine-needle aspiration biopsy of two of the cystic parathyroids revealed elevated parathyroid hormone levels. These lesions probably represent degenerating adenomas rather than true parathyroid cysts. While the CT and sonographic findings are nonspecific, the diagnosis of a cystic parathyroid should be entertained when a fluid-filled lesion is encountered in the neck of a patient with or without hypercalcemia. The diagnosis may be confirmed by assay of parathyroid hormone from the fluid aspirate.
View details for Web of Science ID A1984RW79400043
View details for PubMedID 6606954