Type of Surgery


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Last updated: 02/17/2009


Mediastinoscopy is usually performed in a hospital under general anesthesia. Before the general anesthesia is administered, local anesthesia is applied to the throat while an endotracheal tube is inserted. Once the patient is under general anesthesia,...

a small incision is made, usually just below the neck or at the notch at the top of the sternum. The surgeon may clear a path and feel the person's lymph nodes first to evaluate any abnormalities within the nodes. Next, the physician inserts the mediastinoscope through the incision. The scope is a narrow, hollow tube with an attached light that allows the surgeon to see inside the area. The surgeon can insert tools through the hollow tube to help perform biopsies. A tissue sample from the lymph nodes or a mass can be removed and sent for study under a microscope, or to a laboratory for further testing.

In some cases, tissue sample analysis that shows malignancy will suggest the need for immediate surgery while the person is already prepared and under anesthesia. In other cases, the surgeon will complete the visual study and tissue removal, and stitch the small incision closed. The person will remain in the surgerical recovery area until the effects of anesthesia have lessened and it is safe to leave the area. The entire procedure should require about an hour, not counting preparation and recovery time. Studies have shown that mediastinoscopy is a safe, thorough, and cost-effective diagnostic tool with less risk than some other procedures.




Other Information

Mediastinoscopy is a surgical procedure that enables visualization of the contents of the mediastinum, usually for the purpose of obtaining a biopsy. Mediastinoscopy is often used for staging of lymph nodes of lung cancer or for diagnosing other conditions effecting structures in the mediastinum such as sarcoidosis or lymphoma.

Mediastinoscopy involves making an incision approximately 1 cm above the suprasternal notch of the sternum, or breast bone. Dissection is carried out down to the pretracheal space and down to the carina. A scope (mediastinoscope) is then advanced into the created tunnel which provides a view of the mediastinum. The scope may provide direct visualization or may be attached to a video monitor.

Mediastinoscopy provides access to mediastinal lymph node levels 2, 4, and 7.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mediastinoscopy

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