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.
In many cases mediastinoscopy has been replaced by other biopsy methods that use computed tomography (CT), echocardiography or bronchoscopy to guide a biopsy needle to the abnormal tissue. Mediastinoscopy may still be needed when these methods cannot be used or when they do not provide conclusive results.
Providence Thoracic Oncology Program
serves physicians and their patients who have cancers of the chest, including lung cancer.