A short, clearcut discussion of the anatomy, physiology and radiobiology of the thymus is followed by a consideration of the therapeutic irradiation of that gland.
The three types of thymic hyperplasia are: (1) that involving the thymus alone, (2) that associated with status lymphaticus and (3) that associated with exophthalmic goiter. The first type is the most common in children.
Thymic death is probably due to pressure on nerves rather than to asphyxiation or autointoxication from lymphatic dyscrasia.
In seven years of radiologic experience in a large pediatric clinic (Milan), only 4 cases came to the author's personal attention, indicating that thymic hypertrophy with symptoms is certainly rare.
Benefit is sometimes obtained from irradiating an abnormally functioning thymus, as in patients with myasthenia and psoriasis.
Irradiation of the thymus when dysfunction of other endocrine glands is also present is beneficial in adolescent boys with obesity and retarded genital development and