Cervical Mediastinoscopy

Cervical Mediastinoscopy is a surgical outpatient procedure that may be used to biopsy lymph nodes in the center of the chest (Mediastinum) that drain the lung. Lymph node biopsies may be done to look for cancer, infections, other diseases or to evaluate the extent of masses in the middle of the chest.

Before Surgery

Do not drink anything, including water, after midnight the night before the procedure. If you are taking aspirin or other blood thinners, please stop these medications 7 days before your procedure. You may take your other medications with only sips of water the morning of the procedure unless instructed otherwise by your physician.

During the Procedure

Cervical Mediastinoscopy is done in the operating room under general anesthesia. General anesthesia causes you to be asleep and unconscious during the procedure and is administered by an anesthesiologist.

  1. A very small incision is made above your breastbone (sternum).
  2. A small-lighted scope is then inserted through the opening along the outside of the breathing tube (trachea).
  3. Lymph nodes are biopsied through the scope.

Possible Risks or Complications

Complications with this procedure are rare.

  1. Hoarseness/Sore Throat. Some mild hoarseness or sore throat is common and improves after a few days. If hoarseness continues without improvement for more than a week, please notify our office.
  2. Bleeding is a risk with any operation. Substantial bleeding with Mediastinoscopy is rare but may require a blood transfusion or larger chest surgery.
  3. Air may leak from the lung and occasionally require additional treatment such as a drainage tube called a “chest tube” that is placed into the chest between your ribs. This may require that you stay in the hospital a few days.

After Surgery

This procedure is an outpatient procedure and you should go home the same day. A family member or friend should be available to drive you home. You should not drive or drink alcohol for the rest of the day. Pain Management You may have some discomfort and swelling near the incision site, but this should improve every day. Tylenol or Ibuprofen usually relieves this discomfort. You will be sent home with a prescription if you need stronger pain medication.

Follow Up

The biopsy specimens usually require several days to be examined. The final pathology results will be communicated to you by the physician or physician assistant by telephone or at a follow up visit in the clinic.

Notify our office if you experience fever (over 100.5 F), increasing shortness of breath, uncontrollable pain or redness, drainage from your incision site.