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J Laparoendosc Adv Surg Tech A. 2013 Jun;23(6):556-9. doi: 10.1089/lap.2012.0556.

Thoracoscopic thymectomy in children: our preliminary experience.

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  • 1Division of Pediatric Surgery, Department of Medical Sciences, Surgery, and Neuroscience, University of Siena, Siena, Italy.



The aim of this study is to present a preliminary series of six children affected by an anterior mediastinal mass, resulting in a thymoma. We treated this pediatric population by a video-assisted thoracoscopic thymectomy.


We performed a retrospective study from January 2000 to January 2012 of all children affected by an anterior mediastinal mass, resulting in a thymoma. Data included sex, age at surgery, clinical and radiological features, surgical procedure, follow-up, and complications.


Video-assisted thoracoscopic thymectomy was performed in six children (five boys and one girl). Four patients presented with dyspnea and/or thoracic pain treated with analgesic and corticosteroid therapy without any benefits. Two patients were asymptomatic. Preoperatively, exams included radiological imaging, blood, and immunological test. All 6 patients were treated with a thoracoscopic approach; of these patients, 5 were treated with a thoracoscopic right-side thymectomy and 1 with a left-side approach. Patients were treated by a three-trocar technique, and thymectomy was performed using Valleylab (now Covidien) (Boulder, CO) LigaSureā„¢. The mean operative time was 120 minutes. The mean hospital stay was 5 days. In all cases histological findings revealed no malignancy. The mean follow-up was 38 months.


Thoracoscopic thymectomy facilitated the goal of early thymectomy. The right-side approach is preferred because it gains a good visualization of the venous anatomy for dissection. The left side allows a good extended resection of both the thymus and perithymic fat. Thoracoscopic thymectomy should be consider a valid, less invasive alternative to the most radical open approach.

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