A thymectomy is surgery to remove the thymus gland. This gland is located in the upper portion of the chest, behind the breastbone.

Thymus Gland
si2141_97870_1_thymus_gland
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

The thymus gland helps immune cell growth. It is usually active when you are an infant, but its function reduces as you get older. The thymus acts abnormally when a person has myasthenia gravis. A thymectomy is used to treat myasthenia gravis.

A thymectomy may also be done if the thymus has a tumor, which is called thymoma. These types of tumors are associated with myasthenia gravis.