Bronchoscopy & Mediastinoscopy

What is it?

Bronchoscopy is a procedure that passes a soft flexible, fiberoptic tube (bronchoscope) through your mouth into your throat, and down into your larynx (voice box) and trachea (windpipe). It is used to examine your bronchial air tubes. Biopsies may be taken.

Mediastinoscopy is a procedure to biopsy lymph nodes (glands) in the mediastinum. The mediastinum is the area in your chest between your lungs.


A sample of the lymph nodes is needed to either make a diagnosis or to help determine if a tumor has spread (metastasized) to the lymph nodes.


The procedure is a day surgery procedure. You will come in and go home on the same day.


You will be a given a general anesthetic so that you are asleep. A flexible bronchoscope (telescope) is used to look through your mouth and into your trachea (windpipe) and bronchi to examine them. Biopsies (samples) may be taken.




A small incision (2cm) is made in front of your trachea (windpipe) above your sternum (breast bone). A mediastinoscope (telescope) is inserted and the lymph nodes examined. Biopsies of the lymph nodes are taken and sent to the pathology lab for testing.




The procedure takes about 1 hour and is done in the Operating Room at Victoria Hospital. You may be telephoned by or asked to come to the Pre-Admission Clinic to be assesed prior to your surgery, which is located in Zone C Level 2, Room C2-600.  On the day of your surgery, you will need to register at least 2 hours before your scheduled operation. Plan on spending the majority of the day in hospital.


The surgical risks include bleeding, infection, and hoarseness. The anesthetic risks include myocardial infarction (heart attack) and in extremely rare cases, death.

Before Your Procedure

  • DO NOT EAT OR DRINK ANYTHING, including water, after midnight the night before surgery unless instructed otherwise by your surgeon.

After Your Procedure

  • Family and friends may wait in the Perioperative Waiting Room.
  • Your surgeon will come to speak with them following the procedure.


  • A dressing (bandage) is placed over the incision. Keep the wound and dressing dry for 48 hours.
  • After 48 hours, remove the bandage and wash the wound with soap and water.
  • A small suture (stitch) may be visible at one end of the incision. It is a dissolving suture and will fall away in about 10 days.


  • Most patients find the pain to be minimal and can be controlled with Tylenol®.
  • You may be given a prescription (usually Tylenol® 3).
  • Have the prescription filled if the pain is more severe.


  • There are no specific limitations.
  • Your body is your best guide as to what you can do or feel like doing.


  • You must go home with either a friend or relative by private vehicle or by taxi, NOT by public transportation.
  • Before you leave the hospital, your nurse will schedule a return appointment to discuss the results with your surgeon.
  • This will be in approximately 2-3 weeks when the results of the biopsies are complete.

Call your surgeon's office if:

  • You have any excess:
    • Bleeding
    • Swelling
    • Discharge (pus)
  • You have a temperature of 38.5° C or 101.50° F.
  • Your pain is not relieved by medication.