Background: This study aims to evaluate the early and late outcome of patients treated by surgery for myasthenia gravis and the diagnostic value of the Besinger Score, which is based on a correlation of severity of symptoms with specific antibodies to acetylcholine receptors, in the follow-up investigation after surgical therapy.
Methods: Between June 1984 and April 1992 thoracotomy was performed in 51 myasthenia gravis cases at our department. The retrospective analysis considered patients with (n = 13) or without thymoma (n = 38). The Besinger score was used to describe the severity of disease preoperatively and up to 5 years postoperatively.
Results: The Besinger score fell continually post surgery. Changes in relative serum concentrations of antibodies were similar to the Besinger score. Five years after thymectomy complete remission was diagnosed in 40% of the patients. The required dosage of pyridostigmine had fallen by two thirds after 5 years. Patients with follicular hyperplasia had significantly higher remission rates than those with thymoma.
Conclusions: Surgery for myasthenia gravis is successful. The Besinger score well quantifies the severity of the disease.