[Minimally invasive thymus surgery]

Chirurg. 2008 Jan;79(1):18, 20-5. doi: 10.1007/s00104-007-1440-3.
[Article in German]


There are absolute and relative indications for complete removal of the thymus gland. In the complex therapy of autoimmune-related myasthenia gravis, thymectomy plays a central role and is performed with relative indication. In case of thymoma with or without myasthenia, thymectomy is absolutely indicated. Thymus resection is further necessary for cases of hyperparathyroidism with ectopic intrathymic parathyroids or with certain forms of multiple endocrine neoplasia. The transcervical operation technique traditionally reflected the well-founded desire for minimal invasiveness for thymectomy. Due to the requirement of radicality however, most of these operations were performed using sternotomy. With the evolution of therapeutic thoracoscopy in thoracic surgery, several pure or extended minimally invasive operation techniques for thymectomy have been developed. At present uni- or bilateral, subxiphoid, and modified transcervical single or combination thoracoscopic techniques are in use. Recently a very precise new level of thoracoscopic operation technique was developed using robotic-assisted surgery. There are special advantages of this technique for thymectomy. An overview of the development and experiences with minimally invasive thymectomy is presented, including data from the largest series published so far.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures
  • Myasthenia Gravis / surgery*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Robotics*
  • Sternum / surgery
  • Thoracoscopy*
  • Thymectomy / methods*
  • Thymoma / surgery*
  • Thymus Neoplasms / surgery*