Transcervical thymectomy (TCT) is an accepted though controversial approach for thymectomy in myasthenia gravis (MG). The suggestion of thymoma on computed tomography (CT) has been considered a contraindication to TCT. We sought to determine whether the indications for TCT could be safely expanded to include selected patients with thymomas as well as other types of anterior mediastinal masses.Between January 1992 and September 1999, we performed 121 TCTs: 98 in patients with MG and 23 in patients without MG. The patients' records were retrospectively reviewed.Among the 98 MG patients, 28 had CT scans suspicious for thymoma. Of these, 14 had a thymoma pathologically. These were classified as stage I (5), stage II (8), and stage III (1). Five patients required extension of the incision for completion of the procedure. There have been no thymoma recurrences to date with a mean follow-up of 48 months (range 3 to 96 months). In the 23 patients without MG, 12 had new anterior mediastinal masses, 4 had a history of treated lymphoma, 1 had a history of treated germ cell tumor, and 6 had suspected mediastinal parathyroid adenoma. Diagnostic tissue was obtained in all patients undergoing the procedure for diagnosis, and in 4 of 6 patients, a parathyroid adenoma was successfully resected.Transcervical exploration and thymectomy offers a less invasive approach to the diagnosis and/or definitive treatment of selected anterior mediastinal masses. We suggest that it is appropriate to expand its use to several clinical scenarios beyond the typical indication of thymectomy in MG patients without thymoma.
View details for Web of Science ID 000169906500049
View details for PubMedID 11465181