Video-assisted thymectomy with contralateral surveillance camera: A means to minimize the risk of contralateral phrenic nerve injury

Nahum Nesher*, Dmitry Pevni, Galit Aviram, Amir Kramer, Rephael Mohr, Gideon Uretzky, Yanai Ben-Gal, Yosef Paz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Thymectomy for thymoma has traditionally been performed through midsternotomy that provides excellent exposure for a complete and safe resection. Minimally invasive alternatives have not been extensively evaluated for this disease process because data regarding the long-term oncologic effectiveness of these techniques remain to be established. Furthermore, video-assisted surgery as a unilateral approach may compromise the extension of the resection and could cause irreversible damage to the phrenic nerve of the opposite side. We evaluated the clinical feasibility and safety of a bilateral concomitant video-assisted approach with contralateral surveillance camera in patients undergoing thymectomy for thymoma. METHODS: Four patients (3 females, 1 male) with thymoma causing myasthenia gravis (MG) were operated thoracoscopically at our institute under general anesthesia with double-lumen endotracheal intubation. The patients were placed in a supine position, and a 5-mm 30-degree lens thoracoscope was introduced into the left pleural space. Two other 10-mm working channels were applied. En bloc thymectomy was then performed, including mediastinal and pericardial fat pads, other tissue, and pleura from the level of the thoracic inlet to the diaphragm. A second 5-mm thoracoscope was inserted into the right hemithorax, and it was kept inside during the entire procedure to allow lateral surveillance of the extension and safety of the resection. Carbon dioxide insufflation and valved ports were used. RESULTS: The duration of the operation was 90 ± 72 minutes. Complete resection was achieved in all patients without any nerve injury. There were no perioperative adverse events. Gradual remission from extremity and ocular weakness was achieved after recovery. CONCLUSIONS: The ultimate surgical goal of thymectomy is to completely remove the gland and anterior mediastinal tissue without nerve injury. Bilateral concomitant video-assisted thoracic thymectomy with a contralateral surveillance camera was found feasible and safe. Given the capability of our technique to perform a complete and extensive thymectomy associated with less invasiveness and beneficial effects, there seems to be a role for minimally invasive thymectomy in the treatment of thymoma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)266-269
Number of pages4
JournalInnovations: Technology and Techniques in Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2012


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