The doctor may perform Mediastinal surgery if there is a problem with one of the organs or tissue in the mediastinum. Organs in the mediastinum include the heart and its large vessels, trachea, esophagus, thymus gland, and lymph nodes. Mediastinal surgery may be done to remove tumors or abscesses, to remove the thymus gland, to treat infections, or to drain fluids.
The type of Mediastinal surgery done depends on the diagnosis or problem that is being surgically treated. An "open" procedure may be done where an incision is made on the chest. Sometimes, minimally-invasive surgery may be done through a scope, reducing the incision size and the recovery time. Resection of large mediastinal masses or tumors may require an approach through a large incision in the chest or by dividing the breast bone (sternotomy), or by dividing the ribs (thoracotomy).