Long-term clinical outcome after transcervical thymectomy for myasthenia gravis

Ann Thorac Surg. 1998 Jun;65(6):1520-2. doi: 10.1016/s0003-4975(98)00184-2.


Background: We reviewed the long-term clinical outcome after transcervical thymectomy for generalized myasthenia gravis without thymoma in 52 patients who had this procedure at The Toronto Hospital between 1977 and 1986, and compared the results with those reported after more radical surgical approaches.

Methods: Preoperative and postoperative patient evaluations were based on a modified Osserman classification. We defined complete remission as asymptomatic with normal strength and without medications for myasthenia gravis. The complete remission rate was selected as the best measure for comparison between different surgical approaches.

Results: The 52 patients were followed up for a mean of 8.4 years (+/-6.1 years [standard deviation]). The preoperative mean Osserman grade was 2.7 compared with 0.4 at final follow-up. Complete remission occurred in 44.2% of patients. Similar results are reported after transsternal thymectomy.

Conclusions: Comparable results after transcervical and transsternal thymectomy favor the use of the less radical approach.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Muscle Weakness / physiopathology
  • Myasthenia Gravis / classification
  • Myasthenia Gravis / drug therapy
  • Myasthenia Gravis / physiopathology
  • Myasthenia Gravis / surgery*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Palliative Care
  • Pyridostigmine Bromide / therapeutic use
  • Remission Induction
  • Thymectomy / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors
  • Pyridostigmine Bromide