Bronchogenic cyst vs esophageal duplication cyst

Last revised by Liz Silverstone on 11 Oct 2023

Bronchogenic cysts and esophageal duplication cysts are embryological foregut duplication cysts and are also differential diagnoses for a cystic mediastinal mass.


  • bronchogenic cysts asymptomatic unless infected

  • esophageal duplication cysts can present with hemorrhage or perforation due to ectopic gastric mucosa, or infection

  • both can cause symptoms due to mass effect and compression of adjacent structures

Plain radiograph 
  • bronchogenic cysts are most commonly adjacent to major bronchi or the trachea

  • esophageal cysts can be tubular and are typically closely related to the esophagus, even intramural

Cyst wall
  • bronchogenic cysts have a thin wall containing smooth muscle or cartilage and are lined by respiratory epithelium

  • esophageal cysts have a thicker wall with a ‘gut signature’ on ultrasound due to a double muscle layer which can show ring contraction

See also

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