Surgical approaches to the thymus in patients with myasthenia gravis

Thorac Surg Clin. 2009 Feb;19(1):83-9, vii. doi: 10.1016/j.thorsurg.2008.09.013.


Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disorder of neuromuscular transmission affecting 2 out of every 100,000 people. Neurologists and surgeons still debate what role surgery should play in its management. Many patients who might benefit from thymectomy are denied the opportunity because of misconceptions, ignorance, or trepidation. By offering effective methods of less invasive thymectomy to these patients, a significant number of patients and treating neurologists previously unwilling to consider surgery may realize the benefits of this established, proven treatment alternative. The surgical approaches reviewed include: transcervical, videothoracoscopic, robotic-assisted, transsternal, and combined transcervical-transsternal maximal thymectomy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Myasthenia Gravis / complications
  • Myasthenia Gravis / therapy
  • Robotics
  • Thoracic Surgery, Video-Assisted
  • Thymectomy / methods*