Objective A complete surgical resection is the cornerstone of therapy of thymic tumors. Unfortunately, there is no standard treatment for pleural recurrence. This article describes our overall experience with the surgical treatment of pleural implants in patients who previously underwent resection of a thymoma. Material and Methods From January 1980 to June 2006, 20 patients previously operated on for a thymoma were operated on for the surgical resection of pleural implants. Patients with the initial Masaoka stage IVA were excluded from our analysis. Our sample comprised 10 male and 10 female patients (12–65 years old). The surgical approach to the resection of the thymoma was as follows: video-assissted thoracic surgery in 2 patients, sternotomy in 13 patients, thoracotomy in 2 patients, and sternothoracotomy in 3 patients. The initial Masaoka stage of the thymoma was IIA in 2 patients, IIB in 7 patients, and III in 11 patients. Results The interval between resection of the thymoma and pleural implants ranged from 11 to 156 (median 60) months. Fifteen patients had a thymus-related syndrome (in 13 patients it resulted myasthenia gravis), and in 11 patients it improved or remitted after treatment of the pleural recurrence. All the resections were performed through a posterolateral thoracotomy. Three patients underwent an iterative resection of new pleural implants. At the latest follow-up, 10 patients are still alive (8 disease-free) and 10 have died (9 of a relapse and 1 of the complications of red cell aplasia). From the pleural recurrence resection, the overall 5- and 10-year survivals are 43.1% and 25.8%, respectively. Conclusions Repeat operation on patients with thymoma pleural recurrences is feasible and safe. It can produce satisfactory results in terms of overall survival and paraneoplastic syndrome control. Moreover, the multimodality treatment could improve the results of surgical treatment.
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