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    How It Is Done continued...

    The entire procedure usually takes about an hour. After the test, you will be taken to the recovery room.

    Some people may go home if they can swallow fluids without gagging or choking. Others may need to stay in the hospital for 1 or 2 days.

    If your stitches are not the dissolving type, you will need to go back to the doctor in 10 to 14 days to have them removed. Mediastinoscopy usually leaves only a tiny scar.

    How It Feels

    Before the test, you may be given medicine to relax you. You will then get general anesthesia, which will make you sleep. After you wake up, you may feel sleepy for several hours. You may feel tired for a day or two and have some general aches and pains.

    You may also have a mild sore throat from the tube that was in your throat. Using throat lozenges and gargling with warm salt water may help.


    Problems from mediastinoscopy are uncommon but may include bleeding, infection, a collapsed lung, a tear in the esophagus camera.gif, damage to a blood vessel, or injury to a nerve near the voice box (larynx) which may cause permanent hoarseness.

    After the test, contact your doctor right away if you have:

    • Bleeding from your stitches.
    • A fever.
    • Severe chest pain.
    • Swelling in the neck.
    • Shortness of breath.
    • Trouble swallowing.
    • Hoarseness of your voice that lasts more than a few days or keeps getting worse.


    Mediastinoscopy is surgery to look at the inside of the upper chest between and in front of the lungs. This area is called the mediastinum.



    Lymph nodes are small, smooth, and appear normal.

    There are no abnormal tissue, growths, or signs of infection.


    Lymph nodes may be enlarged or appear abnormal. This 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 mediastinum.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: August 21, 2015
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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