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How It Is Done continued...

The entire 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 sore throat.


Complications from mediastinoscopy are uncommon but may include bleeding, infection, a collapsed lung (pneumothorax), 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 procedure, contact your doctor immediately 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 continues to get worse.


Mediastinoscopy is a surgical procedure to examine the inside of the chest between and in front of the lungs (mediastinum).



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 mediastinum.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 09, 2014
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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