QS Study

Mediastinal Tumors or Cysts

The mediastinum is a space in between two pleural sacs and their contained lungs. Because many vital structures are crowded together within the mediastinum, their functions can be interfered with by an enlarging tumor or organ. A tumor of the left lung can rapidly spread to involve the mediastinal lymph nodes, which on enlargement may compress the left recurrent laryngeal nerve, producing paralysis of the left vocal fold. Mediastinal Tumors or Cysts are mostly made of reproductive (germ) cells or develop in thymic, neurogenic (nerve), lymphatic or mesenchymal (soft) tissue. An expanding cyst or tumor can partially occlude the superior vena cava, causing severe congestion of the veins of the upper part of the body. Other pressure effects can be seen on the sympathetic trunks, phrenic nerves, and sometimes the trachea, main bronchi, and esophagus. Mediastinal tumors develop in one of three areas of the mediastinum: the anterior (front), the middle, or the posterior (back). The position of the tumor in the mediastinum typically depends on the patient’s age.

Mediastinal Tumors or Cysts 1

Mediastinal tumors are exceptional but due to their position can be severe. As they grow, they can cause strain on the heart, lungs, esophagus, trachea, and spine. The exact treatment will depend on the type of tissue, its location, size, and the overall health of the patient.

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