Diagnosis and management of a mediastinal ectopic thyroid laying on the right bronchus: case report and review of literature

BMC Surg. 2018 Apr 4;18(1):19. doi: 10.1186/s12893-018-0354-y.


Background: The mediastinal ectopic thyroid is very rare, accounting for less than 1% of all cases of ectopic thyroid tissue. The differential diagnoses with other diseases such as lymphomas, thymic tumors and dermoid cysts is mandatory, in fact each one, needs different management and treatment.

Case presentation: Here, we discuss a rare case of mediastinal ectopic thyroid presenting with a paratracheal mass laying on the right bronchus without symptoms. A 63-year-old male presented with an abnormal well-defined mass along the right paratracheal side, detected by chest x-ray. The CT scan confirmed the presence of a 6 × 8 cm heterogeneously enhanced mass, located behind the superior vena cava and left brachiocephalic artery, reaching azygos vein and right bronchus, without a mass effect. Taking into account the clinical importance of a mediastinal mass, we removed it surgically, through a double surgical approach consisting in a classical transverse cervicotomy for the left thyroid lobe, followed then by a longitudinal sternal splitting to remove the mediastinal mass and complete the thyroidectomy.

Conclusions: In case of mediastinal masses, the surgical excision is recommended, presenting the double advantage to clarify the diagnosis and to treat the pathology. As demonstrated in this case, a mediastinal ectopic thyroid should be taken into account in the differential diagnosis, considering its clinical importance.

Keywords: Ectopic thyroid; Mediastinal mass; Mediastinal thyroid.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bronchi / diagnostic imaging*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mediastinum / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiography
  • Thyroid Dysgenesis / diagnosis*
  • Thyroid Dysgenesis / surgery
  • Thyroidectomy / methods*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed