Thymectomy Surgery

Specific treatment for myasthenia gravis will be determined by your healthcare provider based on:

  • How old you are
  • Your overall health and medical history
  • How sick you are
  • How well you can handle specific medicines, procedures, or therapies
  • How long the condition is expected to last
  • Your opinion or preference

There is no cure for myasthenia gravis, but the symptoms can often be controlled. Myasthenia gravis is a lifelong medical condition. Early detection is the key to managing the condition.

The goal of treatment is to increase muscle function and prevent swallowing and breathing problems. Most people with this condition can improve their muscle strength and lead normal or near normal lives. In more severe cases, help may be needed for breathing and eating.

Treatment may include:

  • Medicine. Anticholinesterase medicines, steroids, or medicines that suppress the immune system’s response (immunosuppressive) medicines may be used.
  • Thymectomy. This is surgical removal of the thymus gland. The role of the thymus gland in myasthenia gravis is not fully understood, and the thymectomy may or may not improve symptoms. However, it reduces symptoms in more than 70% of people who do not have cancer of the thymus, possibly by altering the immune system response.
  • Plasmapheresis. A procedure that removes abnormal antibodies from the blood and replaces the blood with normal antibodies from donated blood.
  • Immunoglobulin. A blood product that helps decrease the immune system’s attack on the nervous system. It is given intravenously (IV).