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Perioperative analysis of biopsies issued from mediastinoscopy



The objective of this study was to evaluate frozen sections of samples obtained at mediastinoscopy for their clinical usefulness.


This study retrospectively reviewed the records of all patients who underwent mediastinoscopy with perioperative frozen sections in a 1-year period.


A total of 123 consecutive patients underwent the procedure. There were no false-positive results. Of the 71 malignant proliferations, 67 were diagnosed from frozen sections. The technique never failed to establish the absence of mediastinal nodal involvement in patients with suspected or proven lung tumors and enlarged nodes (n = 18) who underwent immediate thoracotomy. Frozen sections allowed recognition (n = 36) or strong suspicion (n = 4) of N2 disease in patients subsequently treated by induction chemotherapy. The technique never failed to establish the nonresectability of lung cancer in patients for whom this condition was suspected preioperatively (clinical stage IIIb; n = 10).


Mediastinoscopy with frozen sections remains an extremely useful tool for the management of paratracheal or subcarinal mediastinal disease.

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We are grateful to Mrs Virginie Montazaud and Mrs Dominique Hervault for precious technical assistance.

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Correspondence to M. Alifano.

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Alifano, M., Charpentier, M., Perrotin, C. et al. Perioperative analysis of biopsies issued from mediastinoscopy. Surg Endosc 19, 1456–1459 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00464-005-0169-7

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  • Mediastinoscopy
  • Biopsy
  • Frozen sections