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What Is Mediastinoscopy?

Mediastinoscopy is a procedure that allows the physician to view the lymph nodes in the center of your chest through a small metal tube (mediastinoscope). A small tube is passed through a small incision at the base of your neck or to the side of your breast plate. This procedure also enables the physician to collect samples of your lymph node tissue.


  • Before the procedure, blood tests are sometimes required.
  • No food or drink may be taken for at least six hours before the procedure.
  • An intravenous catheter (IV) will be placed in your arm so that medications can be given if needed.
  • You must have transportation home as you may be drowsy after the procedure. You will not be allowed to drive yourself home.

What You Should Know About This Procedure

  • The physician will explain the procedure and obtain your consent if he/she has not already done so.
  • Dentures and/or plates must be removed.
  • During the procedure you will be given general anesthesia, which means you will be asleep.

Following the Procedure

  • Recovery occurs in the post-anesthetic care unit.
  • After the mediastinoscopy is completed, you will have small tape-like strips applied to the incision. These strips should stay in place about one week.
  • You will need to keep the area dry for 48 hours. This is very important to prevent infection and allow healing to occur.
  • If you receive intravenous medication before the procedure to help you relax or if you are taking oral pain medications, you should not operate heavy machinery, drive a car, drink alcohol or make any important decisions for 12 to 24 hours after the procedure. Your physician will let you know when you may resume your regular activities.
  • Please inform your physician if you should develop any of the following: shortness of breath, wheezing, bloody sputum, fevers, excessive swelling at the site, or chest pain.