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There is no cure for myasthenia gravis, but today's treatments can effectively treat the disease to reduce symptoms. We tailor your treatment plan to address your unique health needs.
Non-surgical Treatments for Myasthenia Gravis
Most patients require ongoing medical treatments for myasthenia gravis, including:
Medications that control the immune system
Medications that improve the transmission between nerve and muscle at the neuromuscular junction
Plasmapheresis, a procedure that removes abnormal antibodies from the blood
Immunoglobulin, a blood product that reduces the immune system’s attack on the body's own tissues
Thymectomy and Myasthenia Gravis
For reasons that remain unclear, some individuals with myasthenia gravis also have an abnormal thymus gland. Here's an overview of what experts know about the connection:
The thymus gland lies near the heart, beneath the sternum (breastbone), and is important to the development of the immune system in infancy and childhood.
The thymus gland normally shrinks during adulthood.
In people with myasthenia gravis, the thymus gland sometimes becomes hyperactive.
Some people with myasthenia gravis may have a tumor of the thymus gland called thymoma.
Some individuals with myasthenia gravis may benefit from having the gland removed in a surgery called thymectomy.
Neurologists in the Stanford Neuromuscular Program works closely with the Stanford thoracic surgeons to provide optimal care of people who need thymectomy to control myasthenia gravis.
Before coming to Stanford, Chief of Thoracic Surgery Division, Dr. Joseph Shrager, published the world's largest series of extended transcervical thymectomy surgeries. This study demonstrated that the operation is very effective, with far fewer complications and faster recovery than thymectomy performed through a large chest incision. Patients return home the day of surgery or the following day, and they generally return to their usual activities within a week.
Clinical trials are research studies that evaluate a new medical approach, device, drug, or other treatment. As a Stanford Health Care patient, you may have access to the latest, advanced clinical trials.
Open trials refer to studies currently accepting participants. Closed trials are not currently enrolling, but may open in the future.