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Mediastinoscopy

Mediastinoscopy

Mediastinoscopy is a surgical procedure to examine the insides of the upper chest between and in front of the lungs. It is used to diagnoses tissues or growths in the mediastinum. The mediastinum is the ares within the chest cavity that lies between the two lungs. This area has many structures including the heart, esophagus, trachea, thymus, lymph nodes, and other tissues and blood vessels.

During a mediastinoscopy, general anesthesia is used to put the patient to sleep. The entire procedure takes about one hour. A small incision (about 1 inch) is made in the neck, just above the breastbone. Then a thin scope is inserted through the opening. A tissue sample (biopsy) can be collected.

This surgery is usually done on an outpatient basis. The patient comes to the hospital the day of surgery and after the surgery goes to the recovery room for up to 23 hours, if needed.