The lungs and thymus gland are situated in the thorax, while the ribs surround them, providing them protection. The thymus lies between the two lungs. Each lung is encased by a serous membrane, the pleura. The thorax runs between the diagram and neck. The thymus is a temporary organ, attaining its largest size at the time of puberty when it ceases to grow, gradually dwindles and almost disappears.
Conditions or diseases that may require thoracic surgery include lung cancer, severe emphysema and myasthenia gravis. In adults with myasthenia gravis, the thymus gland remains large and is abnormal.
Surgeons at MultiCare Deaconess Hospital use robotic-assisted surgery as a minimally invasive surgical treatment for thoracic diseases. Because the lungs and thymus are not only tightly confined but also surrounded by important nerves, robotic-assisted thorascopic surgery is becoming the standard of care for patients with certain thoracic diseases.
Potential benefits of robotic-assisted surgery include:
Robotic-assisted surgery may not be appropriate for every individual. Always ask your doctor about all treatment options, as well as their risks and benefits.