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mediastinoscopy & bronchoscopy questions

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My sister had a PET scan last Wed. but the thoracic surgeon she saw today didn't have the results (aarrgghh!!!). He scheduled her for a mediastinoscopy Thursday. The peculiar thing is, once she was at the hospital today getting the pre-op stuff done, the doctor called over and said he wants to ALSO do a broncoscopy at the same time. Does anyone know why that would be necessary?

He also told her she either has a fast-growing cancer or sarcoidosis. He said the spots are growing "really fast," even for cancer. Has anyone ever heard of that?

Thanks for your help.


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I don't know the answers to your questions really, but can tell you that SCLC grows pretty fast. My dad's supposidly was not detectable 6 months prior and was cutting off the blood supply to his heart. We started at small town docs, but hated the wait in between tests. We went to Mayo and they did more in a day than our small town would have done in 3 weeks.

Best of luck to you...God bless, and good luck!


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Hi Frannie,

My mom also had both tests..In my mom's case the reason they did both was because the nodule they wanted to biopsy couldn't be reached by doing just the bronchoscopy. The doc said it was in her left upper lobe but the bronchoscope wouldn't be able to reach it. When they did the mediastinoscopy the surgeon was able to biopsy one of her *enlarged* lymph nodes and that was how they diagnosed her as having cancer. (they never could reach the actual nodule, just the lymph node but they could tell from the path report that she did have cancer)

The bronchoscopy examines the trachea, bronchial tubes and the lungs. It's done with a scope and it's not invasive..no incision is made. The mediastinoscopy on the other hand is done by making a small incision (really small) near the breast bone..kind of off to the side and they go in there and look around (with a scope as well) and do a biopsy if they feel it's necessary.

My mom had no ill effects from either tests although she was a little sore from the mediastinoscopy, which only lasted for a few days.

Hope this helped..and prayers for your sis.

If what I wrote doesn't answer your question..just type in mediastinoscopy in google and there should be lots of sites that can explain a whole lot better than I did.


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I had both procedures done(mediastinoscopy and broncoscopy) at the same time. My surgeon did both procedures while I was on the surgical table. He was looking for cancerous lymph nodes. I had a PET scan before surgery and there was some question as to whether the two nodes that lit up were cancerous or not. The test determined that they were not cancerous and my surgeon proceeded with my surgery.

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I had both procedures but at different times. Broncoscopy first for dx confirmation after X-Ray and PET scan showed mass on right lung and enlarged lymph nodes. Had chemo & 25 sessions of radiation simultaneously then had mediastinoscopy to determine if radiation got all the cancer in the nodes. Unfortunately, it didn't and it was back to chemo/radiation for me.

Broncoscopy was a piece of cake, mediastinoscopy was a 3 on a scale of 1 to 10; not bad at all.

Hope the results are nothing but good news.


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