Mediastinoscopy with biopsy

Mediastinoscopy with Biopsy

Mediastinoscopy is a procedure used to look inside the chest between the lungs, which is known as the mediastinum. This is done for diagnostic purposes to inspect any abnormalities in the area. During the procedure, biopsy samples can also be taken and evaluated to detect cancer or any tissue damage or infection. This procedure helps to diagnose various chest conditions such as lung cancer, tumors, and enlargement of the lymph nodes.

Purpose of Mediastinoscopy With Biopsy

Mediastinoscopy with biopsy is performed to diagnose any abnormalities in the chest region. It helps to distinguish between various chest conditions such as tumors, lung cancer and enlargement of the lymph nodes. It also helps to determine the spread of cancer to the lymph nodes.

Preparing For the Procedure

Before undergoing mediastinoscopy with biopsy, the doctor will provide you with detailed instructions for preparation. These instructions can include:

  • Avoiding food and drinks 12 hours prior to the procedure
  • Informing your doctor if you take allergy medicine or are pregnant
  • Notifying your doctor of any medications, supplements, or herbal remedies you are taking
  • Arranging for someone to take you home after the procedure


The procedure is typically done as an outpatient procedure in a hospital or a doctor’s office. It can last between one to two hours from start to finish. During the procedure, the patient is placed under general anesthesia, and a small incision is made in the area between the breastbone and the collarbone. The doctor then inserts a lighted tube, called a mediastinoscope, through the incision. Imaging techniques such as ultrasound or X-ray can be used to guide the doctor where to insert the scope for a better view.

Once the view is clear, biopsy samples are carefully taken from any abnormal tissue that is present in the chest. The tissue samples are then sent to the lab for evaluation.

Types of Mediastinoscopy With Biopsy

There are two types of mediastinoscopy with biopsy: open mediastinoscopy and closed mediastinoscopy. During an open mediastinoscopy, the doctor makes an incision between the ribs, through which the mediastinoscope is inserted. In a closed mediastinoscopy, the doctor passes the scope through a small incision made in the area between the breastbone and the collarbone.

Risks and Complications

Mediastinoscopy with biopsy is a safe procedure, however, there are certain risks and complications associated with it. These include bleeding, infection, airway problems, and damage to surrounding organs. The risks can be minimized if the procedure is performed by an experienced and trained specialist.

When to Undergo Mediastinoscopy With Biopsy?

Your doctor may recommend a mediastinoscopy with biopsy if you have symptoms of chest pain, persistent cough, difficulty in breathing, weight loss, fever, or swelling in the neck. Your doctor may also recommend this procedure to determine the cause of pleural effusion, which is an abnormal accumulation of fluid in the chest. It may also be recommended to determine the spread of cancer to the lymph nodes.