Mediastinoscopy is surgery to look at the inside of the upper chest between and in front of the lungs. This area is called the mediastinum.
During the test, a doctor makes a small cut (incision) in the neck just above the breastbone or on the left side of the chest next to the breastbone. Then the doctor places a thin scope in the opening. A tissue sample (biopsy) can be collected through the scope and then looked at under a microscope for lung problems. These problems might include infection, inflammation, or cancer.
In many cases, this surgery has been replaced by other biopsy methods that use computed tomography (CT), echocardiography, or bronchoscopy to guide a biopsy needle. This test may still be needed when the other methods can't be used or when they don't show clear results.
Why It Is Done
This test is done to:
How To Prepare
You will be asked to sign a consent form that says you understand the risks of the test and agree to have it done.
Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean. Be sure to ask what may be done after each possible biopsy result. If a lymph node contains cancer, surgery may be done to remove the cancer while you are still asleep. To help you understand the importance of this procedure, fill out the medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).
Before you have this test, tell your doctor if you: