Mediastinal Tumors

Wickii Vigneswaran, MD, MBA, FACS

Thoracic Surgeon located in Maywood, IL & Elmhurst, IL

Mediastinal tumors are a rare chest problem that can lead to uncomfortable symptoms like coughing and shortness of breath. Wickii Vigneswaran, MD, in Maywood, Illinois, is a skilled thoracic and cardiovascular surgeon with more than 25 years of experience treating chest conditions like mediastinal tumors. To find the most advanced treatments to relieve your mediastinal tumors, call Wickii Vigneswaran, MD, or schedule an appointment online today.

Mediastinal Tumors Q & A

What are mediastinal tumors?

Mediastinal tumors are a specific type of abnormal growth that develops in the area of your chest between your sternum and your spinal column called the mediastinum. This part of your body contains your esophagus, trachea, and heart.

These types of tumors generally occur in the front, middle, or back of the mediastinum, depending on your age. In most children, they’re typically noncancerous and found in the posterior mediastinum. Adults usually develop cancerous tumors in the front of the mediastinum.

Mediastinal tumors most often appear in adults between 30-50 years of age, but they are very rare.

What causes mediastinal tumors?

The cause of mediastinal tumors depends on where they form in your mediastinum. When tumors develop in the front, or anterior, mediastinum, it’s often due to germ cell tumors, lymphoma, thymoma and thymic cysts, or thyroid masses like goiters.

Mediastinal tumors in your middle mediastinum are often the result of lymph node or respiratory system diseases, tracheal tumors, or growths in the lining of your heart.

When mediastinal tumors develop in your posterior, or back, mediastinum, they’re often caused by lymph nodes disease, bone marrow, sacs with pus, or cells that grow outside of the typical cell area.

What are the symptoms of mediastinal tumors?

Nearly half of new mediastinal tumor cases don’t present symptoms and are only diagnosed with a chest X-ray. As your condition progresses, you might experience several symptoms, such as:

  • Wheezing, hoarseness, and shortness of breath
  • Chills, fever, or night sweats
  • Coughing, sometimes with blood
  • Tender or swollen lymph nodes
  • Anemia
  • Unexplained weight loss

When left untreated, mediastinal tumors can put pressure on your lungs, trachea, spinal cord, and heart, including your heart lining.

How are mediastinal tumors diagnosed and treated?

Dr. Vigneswaran generally recommends a variety of tests, including a chest X-ray, CT scan, or MRI to diagnose mediastinal tumors. In some cases, he also performs a mediastinoscopy. This minimally invasive surgical procedure enables him to biopsy tissue in your mediastinum through a small incision in your chest.

Your treatment depends on the location and type of tumor, as well as your overall health. For example, thymic or thymoma tumors almost always require surgery, while lymphomas generally respond better to chemotherapy and radiation.

Based on your diagnosis, Dr. Vigneswaran might recommend a variety of treatments, including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or a combination of all of these therapies.

Call Wickii Vigneswaran, MD, or schedule an appointment online today to learn more.