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What is lymphadenopathy?

Lymph node enlargement (lymphadenopathy) in the chest is a frequent finding on X-rays and CT scans. There are many reasons for the enlarged nodes that often depend on the patient's history. Some infections and inflammatory conditions such as sarcoidosis can cause the nodes to be enlarged. Tumors of the chest, such as lung cancer, may also involve the nodes and cause them to become enlarged.


Treatments for enlarged nodes are dependent on the patient's underlying condition. Thoracic surgeons have many different options in the diagnostic evaluation of the enlarged mediastinal nodes. Bronchoscopy with trans-bronchial biopsy of the nodes is one option. This may or may not be suitable, and surgical biopsy through the neck with a small incision at the upper portion of the breastbone, called mediastinoscopy, may be able to access the nodes and get a bigger piece of tissue for examination.

Video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) with a camera inserted between the ribs may also be used to remove or sample an enlarged lymph node in the chest.

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