The space between your 2 lungs where your heart sits is called your mediastinum. Aside from your heart, the main contents of this cavity are your thymus gland and lymph nodes. Thymoma and lymphadenopathy are the more common diseases of this area.
- Your thymus gland is a gland which contributed to your overall immune system when you were a child.
- As an adult, this gland usually shrinks and almost disappears.
- A cancer of the thymus gland is called a thymoma. A thymoma is a slow growing cancer.
- It used to be called benign because it grew so slowly. We know now that it should be considered a malignant tumor because it can grow into the lungs or heart and it can spread to other areas of the body.
- Patients with Myasthenia Gravis are more likely to have a thymoma than a person without Myasthenia Gravis.
- Most patients with a thymoma have no symptoms.
- They are usually found on a routine chest x-ray and CT scan.
- For a thymoma that has not spread, surgery is offered as definitive treatment.
- A pre-operative work-up for surgery would include a CT scan, heart evaluation and sometimes a PET scan.
- Patients who undergo this surgery are generally home in 3-4 days.
- After the healing period, you should be able to return to your daily activities without limitation.
At White Plains Hospital we have a fully staffed Thoracic Surgery Service that includes board-certified thoracic surgeons, anesthesiologists, pulmonologists, and critical care intensivists. In addition, we have a staff of highly trained nurses, respiratory therapists, nutritionists, physical therapists, case managers and social workers that work in-sync with your surgeon to provide great care for you when you are recovering from your surgery.