Article Abstract

Subxiphoid thymectomy with a double sternum retractor: a pilot study

Authors: Beatrice Aramini, Nan Song, Federico Banchelli, Gening Jiang, Diego Gonzalez-Rivas, Jiang Fan


Background: Our study aims to describe the experience of a single team in terms of the potential and benefits of subxiphoid thymectomy using a double sternum hook retractor.
Methods: From November 2016 to July 2018, 34 patients have been undergone subxiphoid thymectomy at our Department. Twenty patients were diagnosed with Masaoka Stage I–III thymomas, 12 with thymic hyperplasia or cysts of the thymus, 2 with thymic tumors. All patients underwent a chest computed tomography (CT) with enhancement. 18-Fludeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (18FDG-PET) was performed when recurrence was suspected. Neurological examinations were set. Patients underwent video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) subxiphoid thymectomy with a double sternum retractor. A retrospective analysis of clinical, perioperative data, and follow-up was performed. Incidence rates for death or recurrence were calculated. Average pain score (NRS scale), average mental health, and physical health scores (SF-12) were analyzed.
Results: Thirty-four patients (mean age 54; 12 men and 22 women) with thymic neoformation (from 1.0 cm × 1.0 cm × 1.0 cm to 14.0 cm × 9.0 cm × 4.5 cm) were enrolled. All patients underwent subxiphoid thymectomy. No mortality or recurrence was observed. Median follow-up time was 17.9 months (range, 2.2–23.3 months). The morbidity rate was 9.7 events per 100 person-years. Average pain scores after surgery and after follow-up were 1.7±0.4 and 0.1±0.4, respectively; average mental health and physical health scores on the SF-12 scale were 45.6±2.4 and 33.6±2.4, respectively.
Conclusions: Subxiphoid thymectomy is a high satisfaction approach with positive aesthetic outcomes and low pain. Double sternum retractors are especially useful for creating space during thymectomy. However, the qualified experience is needed.