NOTE: add info for GBUS

The mediastinum is the region in your chest found between the lungs. A Mediastinoscopy is the examination of this region as well as the sampling (biopsy) of the lymph nodes found within the mediastinum. This operation is usually an hour long procedure and often done in conjunction with a bronchoscopy.

Mediastinoscopies are usually performed in order to determine if there is any infection within the lungs or in the suspicion of the spread of cancer into the lymph nodes.

The physicians make a small incision just in front of your trachea (wind pipe) then a thin scope (mediastinoscope) is inserted into the opening. Biopsy samples of the lymph nodes are taken through the mediastinoscope and sent to pathology for examination and detection of cancer or infection.

This is a day-surgery procedure, which allows you to both come into the hospital and go home on the same day. The surgery carries with it only minor risks of bleeding, and infection, aside from the risks associated with anesthesia. There is a small risk of major bleeding. If this happens you may need a much longer operation to fix it as well as blood transfusions.

Before Surgery:

You must NOT EAT OR DRINK ANYTHING (including water) after midnight the night before your procedure. 

After Surgery:

Please remember that every patient’s recovery and recovery time is different depending on the individual and we can only provide approximate time frames and expectations.

Family and Friends may wait in the Same Day Admit Waiting Area until after the procedure is over and the patient is out of the recovery room. The hospital times vary with each patient and nursing staff, however you can expect to be in the hospital for majority of the day. You must have a friend or relative present to take you home in order to be discharged from the hospital.

The incision will be dressed with a bandage that needs to be kept dry for the following 48 hrs. After this, the wound can be kept clean using soap and water.

Mild discomfort may be experienced after the procedure and can usually be controlled by over-the-counter pain killers. You will be given a prescription (generally Tylenol® #3) that can be filled if the pain is more severe.

You will have a return appointment scheduled with Dr. Toth, Dr. Privitera, or Dr. Kavanagh to discuss the results of the procedure. This is usually about 1-2 weeks after your procedure.

Please call our office if you are experiencing any excessive bleeding, swelling, discharge, if you have a high fever or are suffering inescapable pain.


All mediastinoscopies are conducted at Southlake Regional Health Centre; the procedure itself takes about an hour and is done in the Operating Room. You will need to register at the Welcome Centre in the hospital two hours before your scheduled operation.