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The mediastinum is the area in the middle of the chest between the lungs. A mediastinoscopy is a procedure to look at this area inside the chest. A tube with a light (mediastinoscope) is placed into the upper chest through a small opening (mediastinotomy). The light allows the doctor to see the area.
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This is done to examine the lungs and chest. The doctor might take tissue samples ( biopsy ). These samples are viewed under a microscope to check for diseases like:
- Cancer of the lungs , bronchi, and chest tissue
- Lymphoma—cancer in the lymphatic system (eg, Hodgkin’s disease )
- Sarcoidosis —a condition that causes swelling (inflammation) in organs like the lungs, liver, lymph nodes, and spleen
Mediastinoscopy is also done to find out if lung cancer has spread.
Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have mediastinoscopy, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
- Chylothorax—leakage of lymphatic fluid into the chest
- Damage to organs in the chest
- Pneumothorax (collapsed lung)
Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
- Previous mediastinoscopy or chest or neck surgery
- Diabetes or other chronic disease
Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor before a mediastinoscopy.
Call Your Doctor
After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
- Redness, swelling, pain, or bleeding from the wound ...