Mediastinal Disease

Our thoracic surgeons diagnose and treat benign and cancerous conditions in the chest cavity

Mediastinal diseases are rare, often complex conditions. If you are facing one of these conditions, you need an expert team to provide an accurate diagnosis and perform surgery.

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Mediastinal Disease Symptoms

The mediastinum is the cavity in the chest that contains the heart, thymus gland and lymph nodes. The thymus gland is a small organ in the upper chest that helps the body fight infection. Lymph nodes are small structures located throughout the body that help the body filter substances as they travel through the body. The mediastinum also includes parts of the windpipe (trachea), esophagus, aorta and thyroid and parathyroid glands.

Mediastinal conditions may not cause any symptoms. But if they do, you may experience:

  • Chest pain
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Trouble swallowing

Mediastinal Disorders We Diagnose and Treat

Conditions in the mediastinum are rare and may include:

Benign Mediastinal Cysts and Tumors

Noncancerous tumors and cysts can form in various places within the mediastinum.

Congenital Anomalies

Some people are born with blood vessel abnormalities or abnormal development of structures in the mediastinum.

Mediastinal Adenopathy and Lymphadenopathy

This condition involves enlarged lymph nodes in the chest cavity. 


This rare but serious condition occurs when contents of the esophagus leak into the mediastinum, which can lead to irritation and infection. It’s often a complication of chest surgery.


This condition happens when air from the lungs or airways enters the mediastinum. It usually results from an injury or disease.

Thymoma and Thymic Cancer

These conditions are the most common cancers that develop from the thymus. Thymoma is linked to myasthenia gravis and other autoimmune diseases.

Call to schedule an appointment with one of our thoracic surgeons:


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