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There are 3 common methods:
An incision will be made in the skin over the breastbone/sternum. The thymus gland will then be exposed and removed. The incision will be closed with stitches or staples. Usually done for large tumors and locally advanced tumors.
A small incision is made across the lower part of the neck, just above the breastbone. The thymus gland will be removed. The incision will be closed with stitches or staples.Cosmetically better and less morbid than trans-sternal approach.
Video-Assisted Thoracic Surgery (VATS)
Thymectomy is done via 3-4 small holes made into the chest. It offers all the benefits of minimally invasive surgery. It has become the mainstay of treatment for thymic surgery in most of the cases, exception being locally advanced tumors.
Robot-Assisted Thoracic Surgery (RATS)
This is a less invasive option. Several tiny incisions are made in the area. A tiny camera is inserted through one of the incisions. The camera will send images to a monitor in the room. Robotic arms may be used to do the surgery. Special tools will be passed through the remaining incisions to remove the thymus. After the thymus is removed, the incisions will be closed with stitches.
Benefits of Robotic Thymectomy Over Open Surgery
Robotic thymectomy is much less invasive. Because there is no long incision and the chest does not have to be opened, patients experience:
Benefits of Robotic Over VATS Thymectomy
Thoracic robotic surgery, is a recent advancement – one that requires both skill and experience to be done right with great results.