Esophageal Cysts Workup

Updated: Jan 28, 2022
  • Author: Dale K Mueller, MD; Chief Editor: Jeffrey C Milliken, MD  more...
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Laboratory Studies

Laboratory studies do not specifically aid in the diagnosis of esophageal cysts. Laboratory evaluation should be guided by the patient's other medical problems.


Imaging Studies

Radiography guided by history and physical examination findings usually confirms the diagnosis. Plain chest radiographs can reveal a cyst within the mediastinum. Barium swallow studies reveal compression of the esophagus without ulceration.

Computed tomography (CT) reveals a fluid-filled cystic structure originating from the esophagus. CT is the radiologic modality of choice to aid in diagnosis and operative preparation (see the image below). Chest radiographic findings that suggest a mass in the mediastinum should be followed by a CT scan. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can also help diagnose esophageal cysts.

CT scan of esophageal cyst demonstrated by the whi CT scan of esophageal cyst demonstrated by the white line.


Endoscopy demonstrates extrinsic compression with intact mucosa. Esophagoscopy should be performed to rule out an intrinsic component, which should be biopsied to exclude malignancy. Endoscopic ultrasonography (EUS) reveals a cystic filled structure in connection with the esophagus. If EUS is available, then esophagoscopy should be performed to further delineate the extent of the cyst.