Infrasternal mediastinoscopic thymectomy in myasthenia gravis: surgical results in 23 patients

Department of Surgery and Oncology, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Fukuoka, Japan; Department of Endoscopic Diagnostics and Therapeutics, Faculty of Medicine, Fukuoka, Japan; Department of Neurology, Neurological Institute, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan
The Annals of Thoracic Surgery (Impact Factor: 3.45). 01/2002; DOI: 10.1016/S0003-4975(01)03210-6

ABSTRACT Background. Infrasternal mediastinoscopic surgery is a new approach to resection of the anterior mediastinal mass.Methods. We evaluated this new approach in 23 patients with myasthenia gravis who underwent total thymectomy assisted by infrasternal mediastinoscopy between 1998 and 2000. The results were analyzed with special reference to morbidity and short-term improvement of the disease severity determined according to quantitative myasthenia gravis (QMG) scores.Results. Complete removal of the thymic gland with the pericardial adipose tissue was accomplished through an infrasternal mediastinoscopic approach in 21 of the 23 (91.3%) patients. The remaining 2 patients required conversion to sternotomy, the one for insufficient sternal lifting with vascular tape and the other for invasion of a thymoma to the innominate vein. There was no related mortality and only one complication, a phrenic nerve injury in 1 patient (4.3%). Significant clinical improvement of disease was achieved in the short term and several advantages were apparent.Conclusions. Infrasternal mediastinoscopic thymectomy is safe and feasible for patients with myasthenia gravis.

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    ABSTRACT: Both transsternal and video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) approaches are used for thymectomy in myasthenia gravis. We compared outcomes of simultaneous experiences in two institutions: one utilizing the transsternal approach exclusively, the other using VATS procedures for all patients. The Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America guidelines were used to standardize reporting. Between March 1992 and September 2006, 95 thymectomies were performed for myasthenia gravis; 48 by VATS and 47 by transsternal approach. Preoperative classification and postoperative disease status were compared between the groups. Mean age was 39.8 +/- 14.9 (VATS) versus 34.4 +/- 13.2 years (transsternal) (p = 0.07); the proportion of females was 52% versus 67% (p = 0.15); and preoperative duration of myasthenia gravis was 27 +/- 44 versus 20 +/- 45 months (p = 0.43), respectively. Clinical follow up was 89.5% complete at a mean of 6.0 +/- 4.0 years and 4.3 +/- 2.9 years (p = 0.03). The operative time was 128 +/- 34 minutes (VATS) versus 119 +/- 27 minutes (transsternal) (p = 0.22). The need for postoperative ventilation was 4.2% versus 16.2% (p = 0.07) and mean length of stay was 1.9 +/- 2.6 versus 4.6 +/- 4.2 days (p < 0.001). Thymomas were found in 8.3% of VATS versus 13.3% of transsternal patients (p = 0.44). No myasthenia gravis related deaths occurred and 95.8% of the VATS and 97.9% of the transsternal patients were in either complete stable remission, pharmacologic remission, or minimal manifestations status. In the VATS group, 13 of 17 (76.5%) patients stopped prednisone usage after surgery versus 5 of 14 (35.7%) in the transsternal group (p = 0.022). Thymectomy is an effective treatment in patients with myasthenia gravis with equivalent clinical outcomes obtained by either approach.
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    ABSTRACT: A maximally extended thymectomy is performed through four incisions: a transverse 5-8 cm incision in the neck, a 4-6 cm subxiphoid incision and two 1 cm incisions for videothoracoscopic ports. The cervical part of the procedure is performed with an open technique, the intrathoracic part of the procedure is performed with the videothoracoscopy assisted (VATS) technique. The whole thymus with the surrounding fatty tissue containing possible ectopic foci of the thymic tissue is removed. The need for sternotomy is avoided while the completeness of the operation is retained.
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    ABSTRACT: Debate continues regarding the effectiveness of thymectomy in the treatment of nonthymomatous autoimmune myasthenia gravis primarily because there have been no controlled prospective studies. The debate is compounded by the lack of recognition that all thymectomies are not equal in extent or effectiveness and by the fact that all the studies are retrospective without common definitions of myasthenia gravis manifestations or response to therapy. In addition, the analysis of data is often inappropriate. Evidence is presented demonstrating that the extent of the various thymic resectional techniques is very variable and often incomplete and that the more complete the thymic resection the better the results. The indications for thymectomy, the selection of the technique of the resection, the reoperations issue, the perioperative management of the myasthenia gravis patient, morbidity and mortality, and appropriate methods of outcome research are also reviewed. In view of the impressive results associated with a complete thymic resection in the treatment of myasthenia gravis, patients should not be denied this operation because of lack of prospective proof to-date, and when a thymectomy is performed a total resection is indicated.
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