Robotic vs. Transsternal Thymectomy: A Single Center Experience over 10 Years.

Azenha, Luis Filipe; Deckarm, Robin; Minervini, Fabrizio; Dorn, Patrick; Lutz, Jon; Kocher, Gregor Jan (2021). Robotic vs. Transsternal Thymectomy: A Single Center Experience over 10 Years. Journal of clinical medicine, 10(21) MDPI 10.3390/jcm10214991

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Thymomas are the most common tumors of the mediastinum. Traditionally, thymectomies have been performed through a transsternal (TS) approach. With the development of robot-assisted thoracic surgery (RATS), a promising, minimally invasive, alternative surgical technique for performing a thymectomy has been developed. In the current paper, the oncological and surgical outcomes of the TS vs. RATS thymectomies are discussed.


For the RATS thymectomy, two 8 mm working ports and one 12 mm camera port were used. In the transsternal approach, we performed a median sternotomy and resected the thymic tissue completely, in some cases en bloc with part of the lung and/or, more frequently, a partial pericardiectomy with consequent reconstruction using a bovine pericardial patch. The decisions for using the TS vs. RATS methods were mainly based on the suspected tumor invasion of the surrounding structures on the preoperative CT scan and tumor size.


Between January 2010 and November 2020, 149 patients were submitted for an anterior mediastinal tumor resection at our institution. A total of 104 patients met the inclusion criteria. One procedure was performed through a hemi-clamshell incision. A total of 81 (78%) patients underwent RATS procedures, and 22 (21.1%) patients were treated using a transsternal (TS) tumor resection. Thymoma was diagnosed in 53 (51%) cases. In the RATS group, the median LOS was 3.2 ± 2.8 days and the median tumor size was 4.4 ± 2.37 cm compared to the TS group, which had a median LOS of 9 ± 7.3 days and a median tumor size of 10.4 ± 5.3 cm. Both differences were statistically significant (p < 0.001). Complete resection was achieved in all patients.


While larger and infiltrating tumors (i.e., thymic carcinomas) were usually resected via a sternotomy, the RATS procedure is a good alternative for the resection of thymomas of up to 9.5 cm, and the thymectomy is a strong approach for myasthenia gravis. The oncological outcomes and survival rates were not influenced by the chosen approach.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Gastro-intestinal, Liver and Lung Disorders (DMLL) > Clinic of Thoracic Surgery
04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > BioMedical Research (DBMR) > Forschungsbereich Mu50 > Forschungsgruppe Thoraxchirurgie

UniBE Contributor:

Dorn, Patrick, Lutz, Jon Andri, Kocher, Gregor


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Thomas Michael Marti

Date Deposited:

17 Jan 2022 14:34

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:58

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

RATS anterior mediastinal tumor resection robotic thymectomy




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