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28.04.2018 | Original Article | Ausgabe 4/2018

Journal of Robotic Surgery 4/2018

Robotic-assisted thymectomy for early-stage thymoma: a propensity-score matched analysis

Journal of Robotic Surgery > Ausgabe 4/2018
Monica Casiraghi, Domenico Galetta, Alessandro Borri, Adele Tessitore, Rosalia Romano, Daniela Brambilla, Patrick Maisonneuve, Lorenzo Spaggiari
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s11701-018-0816-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.


The aim of this study was to analyse the feasibility and safety of robotic-assisted thymectomy (RoT) in patients with clinically early stage thymoma, investigating clinical and early oncological results. Between 1998 and 2017, we retrospectively reviewed 76 (42.2%) patients who underwent radical thymectomy for clinically early stage thymoma (Masaoka-Koga I and II), identifying all patients who underwent RoT (n = 28) or open thymectomy (OT) with eligibility criteria for robotic surgery (n = 48). Using a propensity-score matched for tumor size (3.9 ± 1.8 cm) and stage (35% stage I, 42% stage IIA, 23% stage IIB), we paired 24 patients who had RoT with 24 patients undergoing OT. RoT was left-sided in 19 (79.2%) patients. None of the patients required conversion to open surgery. OT was via sternotomy in 21 (87.5%) patients and thoracotomy in 3 (12.5%). Mean operating time was shorter in the RoT group (117 ± 40 min) than in the OT (141 ± 46 min) (p = 0.06), even if not statistically significant. Length of stay was significantly shorter in the RoT group (mean 4.0 ± 1.9 days) than in the OT (mean 5.9 ± 1.7 days) (p = 0.0009). No significant difference between the two groups regarding post-operative complications. Five patients died in the OT group after a median follow-up of 6.1 years (only one for recurrence). After a median follow-up of 1.3 years, all patients in the RoT group were alive without disease. RoT is feasible and safe for early stage thymoma with clear advantage compared to OT in term of short term outcomes. A longer follow-up is needed to better evaluate the oncological results.

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