Treatment Available for Patients With Thymoma and Thymic Carcinoma by Dr. (Prof.) Arvind Kumar

Surgery for Thymoma and Thymic carcinoma

By far the most effective treatment for Thymoma is complete surgical removal of the tumour along with the thymus gland which offers the best chance for a cure. Its usually possible to remove the whole tumour if its contained within the thymus gland (encapsulated).
Sometimes thymus gland tumours can spread into nearby structures. However, the full extent of the tumour can often only be accurately assessed during surgery.

Depending on the pre-operative assessment of the tumour using computed tomographic images, Thymomas can be removed by one of the following methods depending on:

  • Size of the tumour
  • Its Invasiveness (whether it has invaded nearby structures like the lining of heart (pericardium), the chest wall, nearby blood vessels).

Surgical Treatment Thymoma and Thymic carcinoma.

Surgical approaches to removal of the thymus

The Thymus gland is centrally located in the upper body and especially its nearness to the heart, the thymus presents specific challenges for surgery. In fact, there are occasions when the thymus may be removed simply to provide unobstructed access to certain segments of the heart during cardiac surgery.

There are three standard surgical approaches to the thymus:

Transsternal Approach (Conventional Open) which involves cutting through the sternum or breast bone. Sometimes referred to as cracking the chest, which is essentially the same approach used for open heart surgery. It is reserved for very large thymomas or those that have invaded nearby structures.

Transthoracic, (Minimally Invasive Thymectomy /VATS Thymectomy/ Thoracoscopic Thymectomy) which approaches the thymoma through multiple small incisions on one or both sides of the chest. In VATS (Video Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery) Thymectomy, a video camera is used to see the surgical field, in this case the thymus and surrounding tissue. This type of procedure generally uses small incisions in the chest for the camera, surgical instruments. The approach is sometimes called Minimally Invasive Thymectomy.

More About Thymoma

Robotic Thymectomy

With the advent of robotic surgery, which is truly minimally invasive one can achieve the effectiveness of a transsternal approach without the trauma associated with going through the breast bone. In Robotic Thymectomy, the surgeon sits at the console and operates using miniaturised instruments with highly flexible joints to perform the most delicate aspects of a thymectomy in a very precise manner. Guided by a high resolution, three-dimensional thoracoscopic view, the operating surgeon can visualize the entire thymus. This can be crucial, especially to see the exact position of the thymus tissue and avoid cutting the nearby crucial structures. Good vision is also essential for completely dissecting the thymic horns, the top portion of the thymus that extends into the neck. In particular, the combination of the surgeon controlled camera, the computer enhanced clarity of the image, and the dexterity of the miniaturized robotic surgical instruments easily overcome the tight operating space around the thymus and provide the precision necessary to safely navigate a complete thymectomy.

However not all thymomas are fit for robotic surgery. It depends on the tumour size, its invasiveness and experience of the surgeon. Dr. Arvind Kumar, having performed over 200 thymectomy by robotic method, has the countrys largest experience in performing robotic thymectomy.

Radiotherapy therapy Thymoma and Thymic carcinoma

Radiation therapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing.

Chemotherapy Thymoma and Thymic carcinoma

Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. When chemotherapy is taken by mouth or injected into a vein or muscle, the drugs enter the bloodstream and can reach cancer cells throughout the body (systemic chemotherapy). The way the chemotherapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated.
Chemotherapy may be used to shrink the tumor before surgery or radiation therapy. This is called neoadjuvant chemotherapy.

Symptoms of Thymus Cancer

The following symptoms may be caused by thymoma, thymic carcinoma, or other conditions. A cough that doesnt go away...Read More

Diagnosis of Thymus Cancer

The following tests and procedures may be used: Physical exam and history, Chest x-ray, CT scan (CAT scan) etc....Read More

Thymoma Cancer Surgery

Thymoma is a tumor originating from the thymus gland. It is an uncommon tumor, best known for its association...Read More