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Robotic Thymectomy

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A thymectomy is the surgical removal of the thymus gland, which is located behind the breastbone. The thymus gland is believed to cause or compound the symptoms of myasthenia gravis, a neuromuscular disease that can cause muscle weakness.

When medication or other therapies are not effective in treating myasthenia gravis, a thymectomy is sometimes prescribed. Complete resection of the thymus gland is necessary to achieve any benefit.

Surgical options for thymectomy include:

  • Sternotomy, which involves dividing the breastbone, similar to the incision for open-heart surgery. This approach is associated with post-operative pain and a several-day hospital stay.
  • The transcervical approach uses a smaller incision at the base of the neck. This approach often fails to remove the entire gland.
  • Robotic and thoracoscopy procedures, which work through small ports that enter the chest through half-inch incisions.

The robotic approach offers better fine motor control of the surgical instruments and a high-definition camera that gives the surgeon binocular vision and provides depth perception. This allows for complete resection of the thymus gland and the best chance for improvement of MG symptoms.

Robotic thymectomy achieves complete resection of the gland with minimal discomfort, decreased blood loss, improved cosmetics and faster return to normal activity. Patients undergoing robotic thymectomy are often discharged to home the day after surgery and typically return to normal activity in about two weeks.

Dr. Richard Morrison is one of a select few surgeons in the state of Florida trained to perform robotic thymectomy. For more information or to schedule a consultation, call (813) 910-0027 or request an appointment online today.