Salivary dysfunction is the most common side effect associated with 131I therapy in patients with differentiated thyroid cancer. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of parotid gland (PG) massage on radioisotope accumulation in the salivary gland.
Sixty patients were included in this study. Using Tc-99m pertechnetate, two salivary scans were performed in all patients. In 30 patients, PG massage was performed between the two salivary gland scans, whereas in the other 30 patients no massage was performed between the two scans. Total counts of both PGs and accumulation ratios were calculated.
In the patients who received massage, no difference was observed between the mean PG counts of first and second images (8556.9±3333.4 count vs. 8598.3±3341.3 count, p=0.39). In the patients who did not receive massage, the mean PG count on second images was significantly higher than that on first images (8581.2±3618.0 count vs. 9096.4±3654.0 count, p<0.01). Mean accumulation ratio in the patients who received massage was significantly lower than in the patients who did not receive massage (0.5%±3.3% vs. 6.8%±3.8%, p<0.01). Further, among the patients who received massage there was a higher percentage of patients with a negative accumulation ratio than among the patients who did not receive massage (43.3% vs. 0%, p<0.01).
PG massage can reduce Tc-99m pertechnetate accumulation in the PG, and thus, should be helpful to prevent salivary damage associated with 131I therapy.