The role of thymectomy in the treatment of juvenile myasthenia gravis: a systematic review

Arin L. Madenci, George Z. Li, Brent R. Weil, David Zurakowski, Peter B. Kang, Christopher B. Weldon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Background: The role of thymectomy in the treatment of juvenile myasthenia gravis (JMG) is poorly defined. The objective of this systematic review was to evaluate the effect of thymectomy on survival, disease severity, and peri-operative complications for patients with JMG. Methods: A search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library (1/1/2000–3/1/2016) identified all English language, human studies of thymectomy for JMG. The population was patients with JMG age ≤18 years who underwent thymectomy (comparator group was unexposed to thymectomy). Outcomes included survival, disease severity, and post-operative complications. Data extraction was performed by independent reviewers. Results: Sixteen retrospective studies included 1131 participants with JMG and 488 (43%) underwent thymectomy. Post-operative improvement in JMG severity occurred for 77% (n = 376/488). Comparisons of thymectomy to non-operative management were mixed. Post-operative complications were poorly recorded. Power to compare surgical approaches was limited. Outcomes specific to antibodies, surgical pathology findings, severity of JMG, and timing of thymectomy were sparse. Conclusions: Existing data regarding thymectomy for JMG are limited and entirely retrospective. The majority of patients who underwent thymectomy had improvement in disease severity and post-operative complications were rare. Prospective, multicenter study of thymectomy for JMG is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)683-694
Number of pages12
JournalPediatric Surgery International
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


  • Autoantibodies
  • Minimally invasive surgical procedures
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Pediatrics
  • Systemic review
  • Thymectomy


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