What is the role of radiography in the workup of thymoma?

Updated: Dec 03, 2018
  • Author: Kendrix J Evans, MD, MS; Chief Editor: John Geibel, MD, MSc, DSc, AGAF  more...
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Answer

Posteroanterior (PA) and lateral chest radiographs can detect most thymomas. On the PA view, the lesion typically appears as a smooth mass in the upper half of the chest, overlying the superior portion of the cardiac shadow near the junction of the heart and great vessels.

The mass usually projects predominantly into one of the hemithoraces. On the right, the silhouette sign is present and the ascending portion of the aortic arch is obliterated. Conversely, if the thymoma is on the left, the silhouette sign is obscured and the aortic knob is identified behind the mass.


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