Article Abstract

The results of video-assisted thoracoscopic thymectomies in Saint Petersburg, Russia: 20-year of experience

Authors: Piotr Yablonsky, Vadim Pischik, Marina G. Tovbina, Mikhail Atiukov


Background: During the period from 1996 to 2016, we have performed 281 thymectomies in patients with various diseases of the thymus. In 179 patients, thymic pathology was associated with autoimmune myasthenia gravis (MG), and, in 108 patients, thymoma was diagnosed.
Methods: The majority of surgeries [254] were performed using video thoracoscopy, 79 of them with an additional cervical approach. The long-term results of video thoracoscopic thymectomies in myasthenic patients were followed up for 1 to 15.5 years.
Results: In 26% of the patients, a complete and stable remission was achieved, in 47%—clinical manifestation improved. Local recurrence of thymoma developed in one patient (0.9%).
Conclusions: Comparison of postoperative complications and long-term results demonstrated that extended video-assisted thoracoscopic thymectomy (VATS-TE) is a radical, efficient, safe, technically feasible and a well-tolerated surgery. It improves the course of MG as a part of multimodality treatment more efficiently than a conservative therapy alone. The course of MG after VATS-TE shows that the cumulative incidence of remissions/improvements reaches its maximum by the 3rd year after the surgery. VATS-TE is radical and safe for removal of noninvasive thymomas up to 8 cm in size. Additional neck incision (VATS-TE + cervical approach) does not provide further advantages, but rather may be a cause of specific postoperative complications.