Mediastinoscopy

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

If tests show you have lung cancer, your specialist usually arranges further tests to find out:

  • what the size and position of the cancer is
  • if it has spread outside the lung.

This is called the stage of the cancer. Knowing the stage helps you and your doctor decide on the best treatment for you.

You may have a mediastinoscopy. This is sometimes done 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 thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera on the end through the cut into your chest. It shows a picture of the area on a screen. Your doctor can take a biopsy of the tissue and lymph nodes in the area.