Cary D. Buckner, M.D. talks about the connection between the thymus gland and Myasthenia Gravis
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Thymus Gland and Myasthenia Gravis Male1: That’s the finest gland and Myasthenia Gravis have some kind of a relationship in some situations. Male2: Yes, that ties into the autoimmune nature and the thymus gland produces antibodies. In Myasthenia Gravis, about 85% of patients have some kind of abnormality in the thymus and about I think I made the number might a little bit off but 85% of those are thymic hyperplasia just abnormal growth of it and about 15% have a thymoma so an abnormal growth tumor of the thymus gland and very rarely a few percent have a malignant thymoma. Male1: Removing the thymus in some patients, can that help or cure? Male2: Yes, you have to go to someone who knows what the dome of Myasthenia Gravis so thymectomy is also a possible treatment for Myasthenia Gravis and patients can go into complete remission and not need to be on any medication. This is sometimes an excellent choice for young woman who doesn’t want to crinkly be on those medications and it’s healthy enough to go through major surgery. But one of the things you have to remember is the anatomy of the thymus, it’s in the neck here but we know that little pieces of it can be left behind as far down as the bottom of the—and so doctors who are familiar with Myasthenia Gravis and know how to do the surgery have to completely open the chest and look all around for any residual thymic tissue and get that out. And I have seen patients who have thymectomy and definitely had some other thymus tissue that wasn’t removed instead of a transdermal approach, they do cervical approach. Male1: So, it’s not left for a general surgeon someone who has done this and needs a lot of extra training to do the correct. Male2: Yeah, I would send my patient to someone who’s done a lot of this so certain. Male1: I saw a video on YouTube from Mayo Clinic discussing this and they do it in particular way so after seeing that I would be very careful in doping it. It’s not quite an easy surgery. Male2: No.