Surgery for Myasthenia Gravis

Myasthenia gravis condition may improve with surgery

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Anyssa Garza, PharmD

(RxWiki News) Surgery to remove the thymus gland may help patients with myasthenia gravis, a new study found.

The surgery appeared to lessen the severity of myasthenia gravis and the need for immunosuppressive medications, this study found.

Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disease that causes weakness in the muscles. With this condition, there is a problem with the transmission of nerve signals to the muscles. 

The thymus, a gland found in the chest, that plays a part in the development of immune cells during childhood, may play a part, said the researchers behind the current study.

The University at Buffalo researchers behind this study looked at thymus removal surgery plus prednisone, a corticosteroid, versus prednisone treatment alone.

Among 126 patients, those who were treated with prednisone alone appeared to have more severe disease than those who had the surgery, these researchers noted.

Surgery can be costly and is not free of risks, these researchers noted. If you or a loved one has myasthenia gravis, talk to a doctor about the best course of action. 

This study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America funded this research. Several of the study's authors disclosed being associated with several pharmaceutical companies. 

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
August 19, 2016
Last Updated:
August 27, 2016