Staging Procedures

  • Gunda LeschberEmail author
  • Johannes Merk


Among the several techniques to stage the mediastinum, the most important in the hands of thoracic surgeons remains mediastinoscopy. As a minimal invasive procedure, it allows approach to most parts of the middle compartment of the mediastinum. Besides staging of lung cancer patients, mediastinoscopy is also widely used to diagnose undefined mediastinal masses. In 1959, the Swedish thoracic surgeon Eric Carlens [1] for the first time described mediastinoscopy. With the existing limited radiological options in patients with lung cancer, Carlens wished to obtain information on potential mediastinal tumour spread prior to surgery, since it was not unusual to find inoperable tumours at thoracotomy. Nowadays, the importance of mediastinoscopy in lung cancer lies in the exact determination of the tumour stage. Tumour stage strongly affects survival, especially in stages I to III, since these have far differing prognosis depending on the involvement of mediastinal lymph nodes. In addition, according to current studies, neoadjuvant treatment in stage III increases life expectancy [2]; therefore, mediastinal staging needs to be as accurate as possible even in non-enlarged lymph nodes.


Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve Biopsy Forceps Thoracic Surgeon Azygos Vein Aortopulmonary Window 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Thoraxchirurgische Klinik, Evangelische Lungenklinik Berlin – Krankenhausbetriebs gGmbHBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Klinik für Herz-, Thorax- und Gefässchirurgie Universitätsklinikum UlmUlmGermany

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