para-oesophageal lymph nodes

Last reviewed 01/2018


The posterior mediastinal lymph nodes lie from the region of the lung hilum inferiorly in a line to the superior surface of the diaphragm. They can be sited along the following landmarks:

  • anterior to the aorta - pre-aortic nodes
  • lateral to the aorta - para-aortic nodes:
    • connected to and are in close proximity to the posterior intercostal nodes sited posterolaterally. Involved in passage of lymph from posterior intercostal space.
    • on diaphragm form 'posterior diaphagmatic' group of nodes; can receive drainage from lateral inferior mediastinal group
  • lateral to oesophagus - para-oesophageal lymph nodes

The posterior mediastinal chains drain the following regions:

  • oesophagus
  • mediastinum
  • posterior surface of diaphragm
  • occasionally, lower lobes of lung

The posterior nodes drain to the thoracic duct.