Posterior Mediastinum: Vagus nerve, Azygous vein, and Thoracic duct - USMLE Forums
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Old 11-01-2009
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Anatomy Posterior Mediastinum: Vagus nerve, Azygous vein, and Thoracic duct

Posterior Mediastinum: Vagus nerve, Azygous vein, and Thoracic duct-posteriormediastinum.jpg
Image from wikimedia commons public domain

Looking at the illustration above help us identify the important relations of the structures in the posterior mediastinum.

Here's some important points:

  • The sympathetic trunks are paravertebral and they are not in the posterior mediastinum.
  • The Left vagus gives anterior esophageal plexus while the right vagus give posterior esophageal plexus.
  • The thoracic duct ascends just to the left and behind the esophagus and will eventually drain into the junction of the left subclavien vein and left internal jugular vein.
  • The azygous vein is on the right side and will eventually pour into the superior vena cava.
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