The mediastinum is area in the centre of your chest. Sometimes, masses are noted to be present in this area. The most common site is the anterior mediastinum (within the chest but in front of the heart) when we usually need to take a sample of the tissue before we can know what it is and how to treat it. Rarely, cancers such as thymoma’s can develop in this area and surgery is usually the main form of treatment if there is a good prospect it can be removed completely. For most cancers, the traditional teaching is for the surgery to be undertaken through the front with the sternum (breast bone) opened and the mass and all the surrounding fat removed to ensure the lowest possible chance of it coming back. There are alternative approached such as a keyhole approach, which in general is more suitable for smaller masses that are placed to either the right of left side. However as we cannot remove all the tissue from the other side we are not sure if there is a small but higher risk of recurrence compared to a full open approach.
Whichever approach you decide is best or if you have questions, please contact me to discuss.