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Surg Endosc. 2014 Jan;28(1):122-6. doi: 10.1007/s00464-013-3137-7. Epub 2013 Aug 21.

Surgical treatment of early-stage thymomas: robot-assisted thoracoscopic surgery versus transsternal thymectomy.

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  • 1Department of Thoracic Surgery, Shanghai Chest Hospital, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Huaihaixi Road 241, 200030, Shanghai, China.



This study aimed to compare the perioperative outcomes for patients who underwent transsternal or robot-assisted thymectomy and to determine the feasibility of robot-assisted thymectomy for the treatment of Masaoka stages 1 and 2 thymomas.


The study evaluated the short-term outcomes for 74 patients undergoing surgery for Masaoka stages 1 and 2 thymomas without myasthenia gravis between January 2009 and December 2012. Of these 74 patients, 23 underwent thymoma resection using unilateral robot-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (RATS group), and 51 underwent transsternal thymectomy (TST group). Duration of surgery, amount of intraoperative blood loss, duration of chest drainage, duration of postoperative hospital stay, and postoperative complications were evaluated.


The intraoperative blood loss was significantly less in the RATS groups (61.3 ml) than in the TST group (466.1 ml) (p < 0.01). The postoperative hospital stay was significantly shorter in the RATS group (3.7 vs 11.6 days; p < 0.01). No patients in the RATS group underwent conversion to open surgery. No severe surgical complications (e.g., bleeding caused by injury to the left brachiocephalic vein) and only one case of pulmonary atelectasis (appearing in a male patient 2 days after surgery) were detected in this series.


Robot-assisted thoracoscopic thymectomy for early-stage thymomas is technically feasible, safe, and less invasive for the patient.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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