The Subxiphoid Approach Leads to Less Invasive Thoracoscopic Thymectomy Than the Lateral Approach

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Video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) is widely used in thoracic surgery. This study investigated the usefulness of the subxiphoid approach in thymectomy using VATS techniques.


Sixty operations were performed using the lateral approach (n = 46) and subxiphoid approach (n = 14). Using the lateral approach, 39 partial thymectomies (PT), 5 total or subtotal thymectomies (TT), and 2 total or subtotal thymectomies with combined resection of the surrounding organs (or tissues) (CR) were performed. Using the subxiphoid approach, 11 TT and 3 CR were performed.


There were 33 females and 27 males, with a mean age of 55 years. The mean maximum tumor diameter was 4.0 cm. The operation time was prolonged according to the volume of thymectomy (PT: 119, TT: 234, CR: 347 min). Additionally, the intraoperative blood loss increased according to the volume of thymectomy (PT: 29, TT: 47, CR: 345 g). To compare the invasiveness of both approaches, we compared 16 TT operations. In the group using the subxiphoid approach, the operation time became shorter (158 vs. 392 min), and the blood loss decreased (5 vs. 135 g) compared with the lateral approach. Regarding laboratory data, white blood cell counts on postoperative day 1 (1POD) (8200 vs. 10,300/μl) and CRP on 1POD and 3POD (2.8 and 2.8 vs. 7.9 and 10.2 mg/dl, respectively) decreased in the subxiphoid approach compared with the lateral approach.


The subxiphoid approach leads to a less invasive operation for anterior mediastinal tumors and extends the indications for VATS for invasive anterior mediastinal tumors.

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Correspondence to Motoki Yano.

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All authors declare no conflicts of interest in the present study. None of the contributors had interests to disclose with regard to commercial support.

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Yano, M., Moriyama, S., Haneda, H. et al. The Subxiphoid Approach Leads to Less Invasive Thoracoscopic Thymectomy Than the Lateral Approach. World J Surg 41, 763–770 (2017) doi:10.1007/s00268-016-3783-8

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  • Lateral Approach
  • Thymoma
  • Median Sternotomy
  • Thymic Carcinoma
  • Chest Tube Drainage