Objective: Video-assisted thymectomy was introduced in 1992 as a minimally invasive alternative for the treatment of myasthenia gravis. As experience with this technique is limited and follow-up short, we present this expanded and updated experience for purposes of validation of the technique.
Methods: Thirty-eight video-assisted thymectomies for myasthenia gravis were performed in our institution between March 1992 and March 2002. Two patients were lost to follow-up. We analyzed clinical results of 36 patients (14 males and 22 females) with a mean age of 41.2 years. Preoperative clinical staging was assessed by the newly recommended Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America Clinical Classification. Clinical status at follow-up was assessed by the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America Postintervention Status classification.
Results: There was no perioperative mortality or long-term morbidity. One of 38 (2.6%) patients required conversion to limited thoracotomy for bleeding. The mean length of hospital stay was 1.64 days (range 0-8 days) with a median stay of 1 day. The mean length of follow-up is 53.24 months (range 4-126 months). Overall clinical improvement at follow-up was observed in 30 of 36 (83.0%) patients, with five of 36 (14.0%) patients in complete stable remission.
Conclusions: Video-assisted thymectomy for myasthenia gravis provides acceptable clinical long-term results by a minimally invasive approach comparable to standard surgical approaches to the disease. The presented data is reported in accordance with the new guidelines by Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America Task Force for valid comparison with future studies.