Management of incidental anterior mediastinal lesions: summary of relevant studies

Soon Ho Yoon


With the increasing use of chest computed tomography (CT) imaging, the detection of asymptomatic incidental lesions in the anterior mediastinum has become more frequent. The prevalence of incidental nodular lesions in the anterior mediastinum is 0.49% to 0.89%. Most of these lesions manifest as soft tissue nodules measuring between 10 and 30 mm on non-contrast CT images. Thymic epithelial tumors are mainly responsible for larger lesions, while smaller lesions are primarily benign cysts. Most incidental thymic epithelial tumors are early-stage and have a favorable outcome. During follow-up, most lesions are stable, but some show indolent growth. Incidental lesions can be managed by a conservative patient-tailored approach with regular follow-up and the use of non-invasive imaging modalities such as magnetic resonance imaging.