Doctors use a mediastinoscopy to look inside your chest and at lymph nodes. They can take tissue samples (biopsies).

If you have been diagnosed with a cancer in the lung or airways, you may have a mediastinoscopy to find out:

  • more about size and position of the cancer
  • if it has spread outside the lung.

People sometimes have a mediastinoscopy instead of an EBUS or EUS. It lets the doctor look at the area in the middle of your chest (the mediastinum) and nearby lymph nodes. You have it under a general anaesthetic. You may need to stay overnight in hospital to have it done.

The doctor makes a small cut in the skin at the base of your neck. They pass a long, thin tube through the cut into your chest. The tube has a camera on the end. This shows a picture of the area on a screen. The doctor takes samples (biopsies) of:

  • the tissue in the area
  • the lymph nodes.