Anatomy of the mediastinum: illustrations and cross-sections


Antoine Micheau , Denis Hoa

Published on

Thursday 07 March 2019


Thorax, Abdomen, Pelvis

Anatomical parts

Anatomy of the mediastinum: illustrations and cross-sections

Thorax - Cross-sectional anatomy : Anatomy atlas

Thorax : Cross-sectional anatomy 

This anatomical module deals with the anatomy of the mediastinum and the sectional anatomy of the thorax.





This thoracic anatomy tool is especially designed for students (medical and paramedical studies).



Anatomical atlas of the mediastinum and thorax : illustrated anatomical plates and cross sectional anatomy

Anatomical atlas of the mediastinum and thorax : illustrated anatomical plates and cross sectional anatomy



Anatomical illustrations of the mediastinum and thorax by section


All the anatomical illustrations are original and produced by Dr. Antoine Micheau. They were drawn in Illustrator using 3D modelling derived from medical imaging (principally thoracic scan) or scanographical sections of the thorax.



Mediastinum and thorax : Illustrations and anatomical cross-sections

Mediastinum and thorax : Illustrations and anatomical cross-sections : Lateral view , Left



The different anatomical plates are organised in their representation of the general anatomy of the mediastinum and thoracic cavity, then in detailing its structure and finally the anatomical sections are available at the end of the module:

  • Mediastinum: Anterior view
  • Mediastinum: regions
  • Mediastinum: Right lateral view
  • Mediastinum: Left lateral view
  • Mediastinum: Posterior view
  • Upper opening of the thorax
  • Anterior mediastinum - Thymus
  • Middle mediastinum
  • Aesophagus
  • Aorta
  • Subclavian artery
  • Superior venae cavae
  • Lymphatic trunks and channels
  • Thoracic lymph nodes
  • Phrenic nerve
  • Vagus nerve [X]
  • Sympathetic trunk
  • Nerves diagrams
  • Axial sections



Superior thoracic aperture; Thoracic inlet : Subclavian artery - Subclavian vein - Brachial plexus

Superior thoracic aperture; Thoracic inlet



Captioned anatomical structures of mediastinum and thorax in transverse sections:


300 anatomical structures were annotated on these diagrams of thoracic anatomy, accessible via the "anatomical structures" tab:

  • Bones: principally ribs and sternum
  • Joints: the different joints of the thoracic cage (costosternal and costotransverse joints...) are presented
  • Ligaments: various ligaments uniting the dorsal vertebrae, ribs and sternum (costotransverse, costoclavicular and sternocostal ligaments).
  • Muscles: mainly captioned by anatomical sections (intercostal muscle, scalene muscles, diaphragm)
  • Arteries: includes the various arteries in the mediastinum (aortic, TABC, carotid and subclavian)



Aorta - Anatomy : Ascending aorta, Aortic bulb, Aortic arch, Aortic isthmus

Aorta : Anatomy


  • Veins: includes the superior vena cava and its principal venous afferences (azygos vein, brachiocephalic veins...)



Superior vena cava: Brachiocephalic vein, Internal thoracic veins, Azygos vein

Superior vena cava: Antero-lateral view


  • Lymphoid system: thymus and lymphatic ganglia


Thoracic lymph nodes:Tracheobronchial nodes, Node of arch of azygos vein; Lymph node of arch of azygos vein, Bronchopulmonary nodes, Juxtaoesophageal nodes

Thoracic lymph nodes: Posterior view



  • Nerves: details the nervous anatomy of the mediastinum including notably the route of the phrenic and vagus nerves as well as the anatomy of the sympathetic trunk at the thoracic level.


Vagus nerve [X] : Superior cervical cardiac branches, Recurrent laryngeal nervePulmonary plexus, Oesophageal plexus, Anterior vagal trunk

Vagus nerve [X]




  • Heart: the external morphology of the heart in the mediastinum and the various chambers of the heart on the anatomical sections are detailed on these diagrams.
  • Lungs: pulmonary lobes and segments in sectional anatomy
  • Bronchi: the trachea and bronchial tree with their anatomical relationship with the mediastinum are captioned
  • Pleura / Pericardium: anatomical relationships and arrangement of pleural and pericardial cavities in the thoracic cavity.
  • Pulmonary arteries: anatomy of the pulmonary trunk and the right and left pulmonary arteries in the mediastinum.
  • Pulmonary veins: particularly visible on the anatomical plates of the mediastinum in posterior view and on the anatomical sections of the thorax.
  • Digestive system: mainly the oesophagus in its thoracic portion


Oesophagus : Anatomical illustrations

Oesophagus : Anatomical illustrations



  • Other structures


Language and terminology for the study of the anatomy of the thorax


We have used the Terminologia Anatomica as the basis for the captioning of all the anatomical structures, with translations into English, French, Japanese, German, Chinese, Portuguese, Russian, Czech and Spanish.

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