Long-term evaluation of extended thymectomy with anterior mediastinal dissection for myasthenia gravis.

Surgery

PubMedID: 11602911

Stern LE, Nussbaum MS, Quinlan JG, Fischer JE. Long-term evaluation of extended thymectomy with anterior mediastinal dissection for myasthenia gravis. Surgery. 2001;130(4):774-8; discussion 778-80.
BACKGROUND
Thymectomy for the treatment of myasthenia gravis (MG) is well established. The extent of resection, however, remains a source for debate. Outcomes for newer surgical techniques need to be compared to more extensive procedures.

METHODS
A retrospective review was done of 64 consecutive patients who underwent transsternal thymectomy with extended anterior mediastinal dissection for MG between 1979 and 2000 and who were operated on by a single surgeon.

RESULTS
Fifty-six patient charts were available, providing 58 operative procedures. Three patients had died of unrelated causes. The mean age of symptom onset was 36.0 +/- 2.5 years, with a mean duration of 3.3 +/- 0.5 years until surgery was undertaken. The mean length of follow-up was 6.8 +/- 0.8 years. Operative procedures were associated with a 10.3% major morbidity rate and no mortality. Drug-free remission was achieved in 50.0% of the patients, and symptoms were absent or improved in 76.8% of the patients. Patients followed up long-term (>10 years) achieved the greatest remission rate (71.4%) and symptomatic improvement (85.7%). After thymectomy, the mean dosages of prednisone and Mestinon decreased by 69.3% and 58.8%, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS
Extended thymectomy provides excellent overall symptom improvement, which is enhanced over time. This review provides a basis for long-term comparison with other less invasive and perhaps less extensive procedures.