7.2. Divisions of the Mediastinum
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Dividing Up the Mediastinum
The mediastinum is subdivided into compartments, and each of these is given its own name. The compartments are listed below and also in the previous image.
- Superior mediastinum
- Inferior mediastinum, which has three parts: anterior, middle and posterior
If you're in an exam and need to have an 'educated guess' about the location of a structure such as the trachea, think logically about it...the anterior mediastinum is really small and, well, anterior, so it definitely won't have the trachea in it. The middle mediastinum contains only the heart and pericardium, so it won't be the answer. Now we have two options left: the superior or posterior mediastina. Well, the trachea runs from the pharynx (throat) to its point of bifurcation at the sternal plane...and we've just learned that the area above the sternal plane is the superior mediastinum - this is your answer!