Role of Transbronchial Needle Core Biopsy in the Diagnosis of Mediastinal Diseases: Experience With an Innovative Endoscopic Technique Using a Rigid Tru-Cut Needle

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Enlarged lymph nodes or mediastinal masses diagnosed by computed tomographic scan before the advent of bronchoscopic procedures (TBNA or EBUS) were usually investigated using a thoracic surgical approach. In this paper, we report the experience with the use of a modified rigid tru-cut needle in the bioptical approach to mediastinal masses; to determine whether it could be considered a valid alternative to surgery, we investigated the diagnostic accuracy of this new endoscopic technique.


A total of 156 selected patients with radiographic evidence of lymphadenopathy or mediastinal masses (subcarinal and paratracheal with a short-axis diameter >3 cm) were studied in our center by rigid bronchoscopy using a 18-G tru-cut needle to obtain a core biopsy of the lesion.


In 140 of 156 cases (89.7%), a histologically correct diagnosis was reached without perioperative or postoperative complications. A total of 114 (81.4%) malignant and 26 (18.6%) benign lesions were diagnosed avoiding further invasive surgical approach.


Our results confirm that, in selected cases, transbronchial rigid core biopsy could be considered a safe and valid alternative technique to more invasive surgical approach in the diagnosis of mediastinal diseases.

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