Abstract Aims Thymic carcinoma is a rare and invasive mediastinal tumor, with poor prognosis. The optimal treatment for thymic carcinoma is not well defined currently. Methods A single-institution retrospective study of patients operated for thymic carcinoma between 1996 and 2011 was conducted. Survival curves were plotted using the Kaplan–Meier method. The Cox proportional hazard model was used for multivariate analysis. Results Seventy-six patients underwent surgery for thymic carcinoma. Masaoka stage was I in 11 patients, II in 20, III in 32, IVa in 13. A complete resection (R0) was achieved in 59 patients. Adjuvant radio/chemotherapy was offered to 58 patients. The 5-year disease-free survival rate and overall survival rate for all the patients were 59.7% and 66.2%, respectively. Patients with incomplete resection had a significantly worse disease-free survival and overall survival as compared to complete resection with univariate analyses (both p < 0.001). Multivariate analysis revealed that complete resection and Masaoka stage were statistically associated with disease-free survival and overall survival (p = 0.005 and 0.013 with complete resection; p = 0.006 and 0.009 with Masaoka stage). Conclusions Our result indicated that complete resection and Masaoka stage could impact the disease-free survival and overall survival of patients with thymic carcinoma after surgical resection.