Cystic mediastinal masses and the role of MRI

Published:December 27, 2017DOI:


      • Compared to CT, MR provides superior soft tissue resolution.
      • MR is an important tool in evaluating the indeterminate cystic mediastinal mass on CT.
      • MR sequences and protocols must be tailored for optimal evaluation of cystic and indeterminate mediastinal masses.
      • Additional information gained after troubleshooting of the mediastinal mass with MR is critical to patient management.


      While some cystic masses can be definitively diagnosed on CT, others remain indeterminate. Because of its intrinsic superior soft tissue resolution, MR is an important tool in the evaluation of select mediastinal masses that are incompletely characterized on CT. This review describes how non-vascular MR provides greater diagnostic precision in the evaluation of indeterminate cystic mediastinal masses on CT. It also emphasizes key MR pulse sequences for optimal evaluation of problematic mediastinal masses.


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