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Benign esophageal lesions occur in various diseases. Barium studies are useful for the evaluation of mucosal surface lesions but provide little information about the extramucosal extent of disease. Computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging, on the other hand, permit the assessment of wall thickness, mediastinal involvement, adjacent lymphadenopathy, and distant spread. In diseases such as fibrovascular polyps, duplication cysts, scleroderma, trauma, caustic esophagitis, hiatal hernia, esophageal diverticulum, achalasia, and paraesophageal varices, the findings of imaging studies are specific, obviating the need for further invasive diagnostic work-up. The advent of helical computed tomography and its volume data set allows the acquisition of multiplanar images, and magnetic resonance imaging is useful both for this and for tissue characterization. Thus, multiplanar cross-sectional imaging further extends the role of imaging modalities to the evaluation of benign esophageal lesions. Through an awareness of the multiplanar cross-sectional appearances of various benign esophageal lesions, the radiologist can play an important role in the detection, diagnosis, further diagnostic planning, and treatment of the diseases in which they occur.