Emergency icon Important Updates
When you have myasthenia gravis (MG), you likely worry about your symptoms and how to control them.

Myasthenia gravis is a rare and lifelong autoimmune disease (when the body attacks itself). It disrupts the signals your nerves send to your muscles, making it hard to move. You might wake up feeling great and ready for the day, and then, without warning, muscle weakness and fatigue set it. And it can get worse as the day goes on.

Cleveland Clinic is a nationally recognized leader in myasthenia gravis care. We can give you answers — and hope. It might be rare to have MG, but it’s not rare for us to treat it. Our expert, caring team of healthcare providers know what it takes to diagnose and treat MG, so you can manage your symptoms and enjoy life.

Why Choose Cleveland Clinic for Myasthenia Care?

comprehensive treatment icon

Comprehensive treatment:

Our team of experienced neuromuscular specialists, thoracic surgeons and rehabilitation specialists work together to offer you the tests and treatments you need to manage your MG.

demonstrated expertise icon

Demonstrated expertise:

The Myasthenia Gravis Foundation recognizes Cleveland Clinic as a Partner in MG Care for our high-quality evaluations and effective treatments.

skilled and collaborative providers icon

Skilled, collaborative providers:

We choose your care team providers from many different specialties, to match your unique diagnosis and needs. These providers understand the many ways that myasthenia gravis can affect your well-being. Meet our team.

Innovation and Research Icon

Innovation and research:

Cleveland Clinic actively researches myasthenia gravis to improve diagnosis and treatment and find better ways to manage this condition. You may even have the chance to participate in a clinical trial.

national recognition icon

National recognition:

Cleveland Clinic is a trusted healthcare leader. We're recognized in the U.S. and throughout the world for our expertise and care.

Virtual Consultation icon

Virtual visits:

Not all appointments need to be in person. Virtual visits let you meet with your provider from the comfort of home using your smartphone, tablet or computer. This safe and convenient alternative is especially helpful for follow-up visits and second opinions.

Myasthenia Gravis Diagnosis at Cleveland Clinic

Myasthenia gravis symptoms often start gradually and can be mistaken for signs of other health conditions. Your arms and legs might be weak. You could be really tired, have droopy eyelids, double vision, slurred speech, problems with swallowing and chewing and shortness of breath. MG attacks often come and go.

While many MG cases have no known cause, others can be linked to problems in the thymus gland, a small organ in the upper chest. The thymus is part of the lymphatic system and makes white blood cells that fight infection. Some people have an overactive thymus. Others may have a tumor called a thymoma.

All of these factors can make diagnosing myasthenia gravis tricky. That’s why it’s important to work with healthcare providers who are familiar with recognizing and treating myasthenia gravis. At Cleveland Clinic, we have a dedicated healthcare team with in-depth knowledge of MG. They can diagnose it quickly and correctly so you can move forward with personalized treatment.

What to expect at your first visit

At your appointment, your providers will go over your health history. Then they’ll want to know about your symptoms — when they started, how long you’ve had them, how they make you feel and what seems to trigger them. You’ll also have a physical exam and do testing to help pinpoint what’s going on. It’s important to make your prior medical records available so that our providers can review them with you.

Myasthenia gravis testing

There are a number of tests we can do to figure out if you have MG. You may have one, some or all of these:

  • Ice pack test: This test can help us find out if your drooping eyelids are caused by myasthenia gravis. The drooping will get better if we put ice packs on your eyes.
  • Imaging tests: CT scans and MRIs let us take detailed pictures of your insides so we can get a better look at what’s going on with your body. These imaging tests are often needed to check your thymus gland and rule out other disorders in your brain or spine.
  • Antibody tests: These tests let us see if you have antibodies in your blood that can keep your nerves and muscles working together the right way.
  • Electromyogram (EMG): This test measures the electrical activity of your muscles and nerves to see if they have trouble communicating. We offer a specialized test called single fiber electromyography, if needed.

Meet Our Myasthenia Gravis Team

Your Cleveland Clinic care team will include healthcare providers from different specialties — all chosen based on your symptoms and needs. Your care team works together to confirm that you have MG and create a treatment plan that keeps you and your unique diagnosis at the center of everything.

Your team may include:


Our healthcare providers see patients at convenient locations throughout Northeast Ohio.

Myasthenia Gravis Treatment at Cleveland Clinic

With the right treatment, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to get back to doing the things you love. That’s why we make sure your care is as unique as you are. We pay close attention to your symptoms and test results when crafting your treatment plan. Your plan could include a mix of medications, rehabilitation therapy, or in some cases, surgery. Our ongoing research into MG means we may be able to offer you new therapies before they’re widely available.


We often start treatment with medications to help manage and improve your symptoms. These can include:

  • Cholinesterase inhibitors, like pyridostigmine (Mestinon® or Regonol®) that help with mild forms of MG. They prevent acetylcholine (a chemical that carries messages from your brain to your body through your nerve cells) from breaking down to help your muscles move.
  • Corticosteroids, like Prednisone®, can keep your immune system from attacking your body by limiting how many antibodies it makes.
  • Immunosuppressants can stop your immune system from targeting healthy cells and tissues and keep MG flares at bay.


We’ll give you healthy antibodies (immunoglobulins) taken from donor blood through a vein in your arm (intravenously). Or we may choose to inject immunoglobulin through your skin so it absorbs slower (subcutaneous immunoglobulin or SCIG).

Plasma exchange (plasmapheresis)

During a plasma exchange treatment, we’ll take harmful antibodies out of your bloodstream by replacing your plasma with some from a healthy donor. We use a machine that separates plasma from blood and then returns it to your body.

Monoclonal antibodies

We’ll use lab-created antibodies to reduce the number of immune cells that make the damaging antibodies. Rituximab (Rituxan®, Ruxience®, Riabni™) is one antibody that can help suppress an overactive immune system.

Efgartigimod Alfa

Efgartigimod Alfa is a medication that’s injected into your vein. It reduces the amount of antibodies you have in your blood that can cause muscle weakness.

Eculizumab and Ravulizumab

Eculizumab and Ravulizumab are also medications injected into your vein. If your immune system is working overtime and triggering MG attacks, these medications can slow it down. We may recommend these medications if you have severe symptoms or standard therapies aren’t working.

Physical therapy

You may have physical therapy to relieve your fatigue and help you feel stronger. Our rehabilitation experts will work with you to develop a personalized plan that focuses on gentle, low-intensity exercise.


Sometimes, the thymus gland plays a part in your myasthenia gravis diagnosis. If so, we might recommend you have surgery to remove it (thymectomy). Sometimes surgery can improve MG symptoms even if you don’t have a tumor.

Taking the Next Step

Having myasthenia gravis shouldn’t keep you from living a productive and active life. Cleveland Clinic’s experienced team of healthcare providers specialize in treating MG with personalized care to help you manage symptoms and have fewer attacks. We want to improve your quality of life so you can confidently do the things you love.

Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic’s myasthenia gravis experts is easy. We’ll help you get the care you need.


Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic’s myasthenia gravis experts is easy. We’ll help you get the care you need.

Manage your Cleveland Clinic account. Find billing information and financial assistance, plus FAQs.

Billing & Insurance

Manage your Cleveland Clinic account. Find billing information and financial assistance, plus FAQs.

Securely access your personal health information at any time, day or night.


Securely access your personal health information at any time, day or night.

Health Library
Back to Top