Since Weigert's1 discovery of a thymic tumor in a patient who had died of myasthenia gravis, much speculation has arisen concerning the role of the thymus in this curious disease. Postmortem studies disclosed tumors, hyperplasia or enlargement of the thymus in approximately 50 per cent of the cases collected by Norris.2 It appears likely that this high incidence of pathologic changes in the thymus is more than coincidental.
There are few instances in the literature of successful removal of thymic tumor for myasthenia gravis. Sauerbruch, as cited by others,3 excised a tumor in 3 cases. Two of his patients died of mediastinitis shortly after operation; the third case is of particular interest here.
A woman aged 20 had pronounced myasthenia gravis and hyperthyroidism. After ten weeks' rest in the hospital her condition remained unchanged. Ligation of the right superior thyroid artery and vein failed to lessen the
CAMPBELL E, FRADKIN NF, LIPETZ B. MYASTHENIA GRAVIS TREATED BY EXCISION OF THYMIC TUMORREPORT OF TWO CASES. Arch NeurPsych. 1942;47(4):645-661. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1942.02290040135007