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 (Reference biopsy Opens New Window) 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 Reference mediastinoscopy Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window.
In many cases mediastinoscopy has been replaced by other biopsy methods that use Reference computed tomography (CT) Opens New Window, Reference echocardiography Opens New Window, or Reference bronchoscopy Opens New Window 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.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference November 1, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Robert L. Cowie, MB, FCP(SA), MD, MSc, MFOM - Pulmonology