A mediastinoscopy is a surgical procedure for examining the inside of the chest, allowing surgeons to remove lymph nodes from between the lungs to check for infection or cancer, reports Drugs.com. Surgeons make a small cut in the throat under the sternum or breastplate and insert an instrument called a mediastinoscope through it, into the area between the lungs, explains Healthline. Surgeons also use mediastinoscopy to evaluate tumors in the middle chest and examine the airways, details Drugs.com.
Doctors usually use mediastinoscope to understand the stage of lung or other cancers and select the right treatment, says Healthline. Before the procedure, patients should tell their doctors if they are pregnant, have allergies to medicines such as anesthetics and if they are taking any medication, including blood thinners, advises WebMD. Patients are advised not to eat anything for at least eight hours before the procedure, to prevent nausea, notes Drugs.com
Before the procedure, patients may receive medicines to make them relax and fall asleep, explains WebMD. Complications for mediastinoscopy include difficulty in breathing due to an allergic reaction to the anesthesia and accidental puncture of blood vessels during the surgery, causing a fatal hemorrhage, says Healthline. Patients may also experience discomfort in the area of the incision for a few days and air leaks from the lung, which may require additional treatments such as a chest tube, according to Drugs.com.