Mediastinal Diseases, Tumors, and Masses
Overview of the mediastinum
The mediastinum consists of most parts of the chest that are not taken up by the lungs or the heart and its associated large blood vessels. It is an area that in healthy individuals is filled with fatty tissue, connective tissue, lymph node tissue, and an organ called the thymus.
A variety of types of lymphomas (tumors of the lymphatic, or lymph node, system) may arise primarily in the mediastinum. The most common of these is Hodgkin’s lymphoma and B-cell lymphomas. These are most often located in the anterior mediastinum, but they may also involve the middle mediastinum.
Posterior mediastinal tumors
Posterior Mediastinal Tumors and Masses
Nearly all tumors that occur in the posterior mediastinum are benign.
Thymomas are malignant tumors that arise in the thymus gland, typically in the anterior mediastinum. Although considered malignant, most thymomas grow slowly and tend to spread only locally, by “seeding” cells into surrounding tissues and spaces such as the pleural space (the space surrounding each lung).