How are ectopic endocrine tissue in the mediastinum treated?

Updated: Feb 16, 2021
  • Author: Mary C Mancini, MD, PhD, MMM; Chief Editor: John Geibel, MD, MSc, DSc, AGAF  more...
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Surgical excision is indicated for ectopic endocrine tissue within the mediastinum. Nonfunctioning thyroid or parathyroid tissue may not have been identified previously and is often removed incidentally during surgery for another reason. Functioning or malignant endocrine tissues require removal.

Substernal goiter is not true ectopic endocrine tissue, but rather, the direct extension of an abnormal cervical thyroid into the mediastinum. Surgical resection may be indicated, even in asymptomatic cases, because of the risk of sudden airway obstruction and because of the somewhat increased chance of malignancy. Resection can be performed via the standard cervical thyroidectomy incision in almost all cases. On rare occasions, sternotomy is required.

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