A thymectomy is surgery to remove the thymus gland. This gland is located in the upper portion of the chest, behind the breastbone.
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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.
Last reviewedMay 2013by Kim Carmichael, MD; Michael Woods, MD
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