How It Is Done
Mediastinoscopy is done by a
chest (thoracic) surgeon and surgical
Before the procedure, an
intravenous (IV) line will be placed in a vein to give
you fluids and medicines. After you are asleep, a tube will be placed in your
throat (endotracheal or ET tube) to help you breathe during the procedure. Your
neck and chest will be washed with an antiseptic soap and covered with a
An incision will be made just above your breastbone
at the base of your neck or on the left side of your chest near the breastbone
between the 4th and 5th ribs. The mediastinoscope will be inserted through the
opening. Your doctor will examine the space in your chest between your lungs
Lymph nodes or abnormal tissue will be collected for
examination. After the scope is removed from your chest, the incision will be
closed with a few stitches and covered with a bandage.
procedure usually takes about an hour. After the procedure, you will be taken
to the recovery room.
Some people may go home after the procedure
if the general anesthesia wears off and they are able to swallow fluids without
gagging or choking. Other people may need to stay in the hospital for 1 or 2
days. If your stitches are not the dissolving type, you will need to return to
your doctor in 10 to 14 days to have them removed. Mediastinoscopy usually
leaves only a tiny scar.
How It Feels
Before the procedure, you may be given
medicine that will make you sleepy and relaxed. You will receive general
anesthesia during the mediastinoscopy, which will cause you to be asleep. After
you wake up, you may feel sleepy for several hours. You may feel tired for 1 to
2 days after the procedure and have some general aches and pains. You may also
have a mild sore throat from the tube in your throat during the procedure.
Using throat lozenges and gargling with warm salt water may help relieve your
Complications from mediastinoscopy are uncommon
but may include bleeding, infection, a collapsed lung (pneumothorax),
a tear in the
esophagus , damage to a blood vessel, or injury to a
nerve near the voice box (larynx) which may cause permanent hoarseness.
After the procedure, contact your doctor immediately if you have:
- Bleeding from your stitches.
- Severe chest pain.
- Swelling in the
- Shortness of breath.
- Hoarseness of your voice that lasts more than a few
days or continues to get worse.
Mediastinoscopy is a surgical procedure
to examine the inside of the chest between and in front of the lungs
Lymph nodes are
small, smooth, and appear normal.
No abnormal tissue, growths, or signs of
infection are present.
Lymph nodes may be enlarged or appear
abnormal, which may mean
sarcoidosis, infection, or cancer. Tissue samples are
removed and examined under the microscope.
Abnormal growths (such as a tumor) or signs
of infection (such as an
abscess) may be found in the chest cavity, or