Mediastinoscopy is a technique which examines the mediastinum, which is the chest centre in order to view whether the mesothelioma cancers has spread there. The mediastinum consists of:
1. The heart - The major blood vessels;
2. Lymph nodes - The oesophagus (foodpipe).
In some cases of pleural mesothelioma cancers, there are enlarger lymph nodes in the chest.
In pleural mesothelioma cancers, a general anaesthetic is administered to mesothelioma patients for this technique and therefore mesothelioma patients must stay at least a night in the hospital. Here, the mesothelioma doctor makes a small incision at the base of the neck. Then a small tube is passed through the incision and straight into the mediastinum. The mesothelioma doctor is then able to view through this tube to examine the mediastinum. Usually, the tube contains a small video camera, in order for the mesothelioma doctor to be able to view the mediastinum area on a monitor. Tissue specimens may also be extracted from mesothelioma patients, which will later be investigated under a microscope to see whether there are any cancerous cells.
On waking up from sleep, you will discover you have a small dressing over the incision from where the tube was passed in. Be free to say anything about the way you are feeling, because there are nurses are there to observe any responses you may exhibit. The doctors will be also be pleased to administer you a pain relief.
After getting over the general anaesthetic, you may be allow to go home, or discharged. The period of time of stay in the hospital for this may most likely be a few days after the test have been carried out.