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Home > Health Library > Mediastinoscopy
Mediastinoscopy (say "mee-dee-yass-tuh-NAW-skuh-pee") is a test that looks at the space behind your breastbone in front of your lungs. This area is called the mediastinum (say "mee-dee-ya-STY-num").
During the test, a doctor makes a small cut (incision) in the neck just above the breastbone. Sometimes the cut is made on the left side of the chest next to the breastbone. Then the doctor places a lighted tube into the cut. The tube lets the doctor look around inside that space.
This test is done to look for problems such as infection, inflammation, or cancer. The doctor may use the tube to take a sample of tissue from the area. This is called a biopsy. The sample can then be looked at under a microscope for lung problems.
This procedure usually takes about an hour.
This test is done to:
Procedures can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your procedure.
Remove glasses, contact lenses, and dentures or a removable bridge just before the test. You'll be asked to take off your jewelry.
Before the surgery, an intravenous (IV) line will be placed in a vein to give you fluids and medicines. After you are asleep, a tube will be placed in your throat to help you breathe.
The doctor will make an incision just above your breastbone at the base of your neck or on the left side of your chest near the breastbone. The scope will be inserted through the opening. Your doctor will look at the space in your chest between your lungs and heart. Lymph nodes or abnormal tissue will be collected for testing. After the scope is taken out, the incision will be closed with a few stitches and covered with a bandage.
After the test, you will be taken to the recovery room. You may feel sleepy for several hours.
Some people may go home if they can swallow fluids without gagging or choking. Others may need to stay in the hospital for 1 or 2 days.
The entire procedure usually takes about an hour.
Before the test, you may be given medicine to relax you. You will then get general anesthesia, which will make you sleep.
Problems from mediastinoscopy aren't common. But they may include bleeding, infection, a collapsed lung, a tear in the esophagus, damage to a blood vessel, or injury to a nerve near the voice box (larynx) which may cause permanent hoarseness.
Lymph nodes are small and smooth, and they appear normal.
There are no growths, abnormal tissue, or signs of infection.
Lymph nodes may be enlarged or appear abnormal. This may mean sarcoidosis, infection, or cancer. Tissue samples are removed and examined under the microscope.
Abnormal growths (such as a tumor) or signs of infection (such as an abscess) may be found in the chest cavity, or mediastinum.
Current as of:
December 2, 2020
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Adam Husney MD - Family MedicineE. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal MedicineDavid C. Stuesse MD - Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery
Current as of: December 2, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & David C. Stuesse MD - Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery
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