In the neck it commences in the median plane and deviates slightly to the left as it approaches the thoracic inlet. The trachea and the thyroid gland are its immediate anterior relations, the 6th and 7th cervical vertebrae and pre-
vertebral fascia are behind it and on either side it is related to the common carotid arteries and the recurrent laryngeal nerves. On the left side it is also related to the subclavian artery and the terminal part of the thoracic duct
The thoracic part traverses first the superior and then the posterior mediastinum. From being somewhat over to the left, it returns to the midline at T5 then passes downwards, forwards and to the left to reach the oesophageal opening in the diaphragm (T10). For convenience, the relations of this part are given in sequence from above downwards.
On the left side it is related to the left subclavian artery, the terminal part of the aortic arch, the left recurrent laryngeal nerve, the thoracic duct and the left pleura. In the posterior mediastinum it relates to the descending thoracic aorta before this passes posteriorly to the oesophagus above the diaphragm.
On the right side there is the pleura and the azygos vein. Below the root of the lung the vagi form a plexus on the oesophagus, the left vagus lying anteriorly, the right posteriorly.
In the abdomen, passing forwards through the opening in the right crus of the diaphragm, the oesophagus comes to lie in the oesophageal groove on the posterior surface of the left lobe of the liver, covered by peritoneum on its anterior and left aspects. Behind it is the left crus of the diaphragm.
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