Mediastinoscopy is a surgical procedure to examine the inside of
the upper chest between and in front of the lungs (mediastinum).
During a mediastinoscopy, a small cut (incision) is made in the neck just above
the breastbone or on the left side of the chest next to the breastbone. Then a
thin scope (mediastinoscope) is inserted through the opening. A tissue sample
(biopsy) can be collected through the mediastinoscope
and then examined under a microscope for lung problems, such as infection,
inflammation, or cancer. See a picture of
In many cases
mediastinoscopy has been replaced by other biopsy methods that use
computed tomography (CT),
bronchoscopy to guide a biopsy needle to the abnormal
tissue. Mediastinoscopy may still be needed when these methods can't be used
or when they don't provide conclusive results.
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Robert L. Cowie, MB, FCP(SA), MD, MSc, MFOM - Pulmonology
November 1, 2012
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