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.

The Lungs (Cut-away View)
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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)
  • Infection
  • Inflammation
  • 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.