Extended videoscopic robotic thymectomy with the da Vinci telemanipulator for the treatment of myasthenia gravis: the Vienna experience

Tatjana Fleck, Michael Fleck, Michael Müller, Helmut Hager, Walter Klepetko, Ernst Wolner, Wilfried Wisser
Interactive Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery 2009, 9 (5): 784-7
Surgical treatment of myasthenia gravis should include the complete resection of the thymus with the whole fatty tissue adherent to the pericardium for immunologic as well as oncologic reasons. The aim of the current study was to investigate the efficacy and safety of robotic approach. A total of 18 patients with myasthenia gravis (mean age 44 years) have been operated robotically via a left-sided approach. Preoperative MGFA (Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America) classification was: Class I n=4, Class IIa n=4, Class IIb n=5, and Class IIIa n=3, IIIb n=2. Total endoscopic resection was feasible in 17/18 patients. One patient had to be converted due to bleeding. In the remaining patients, operative time was 175 min, intensive care unit (ICU) one day, hospital stay four days. In all patients it was possible to perform an extended thymic resection. MGFA post-intervention status after a mean of 18 months follow-up showed complete stable remission n=5, pharmacologic remission n=4, minimal manifestations n=5, unchanged n=1. Complete endoscopic thymus surgery with the da Vinci surgical system enables a complete and extended resection of all thymic tissue in the mediastinum. Due to the minimal trauma, patients can return to full activity within a short time.

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