Health Information and Tools > Patient Care Handouts >  Mediastinoscopy: What to Expect at Home
Facebook Tweet Email Share

Main Content

Mediastinoscopy: What to Expect at Home

Your Recovery

Mediastinoscopy (say "mee-dee-yass-tuh-NAW-skuh-pee") is a test that looks at the space behind your breastbone in front of your lungs.

During the test, your doctor made a small cut (incision) in your neck or chest. Then the doctor placed a lighted tube into the cut to look around inside that space.

You may be sore where the doctor made the cut in your skin and put in the lighted tube. You may feel some pain in your lung when you take a deep breath. These symptoms usually get better in a few days.

You may need to take it easy at home for a day or two after the procedure. For 1 week, try to avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activities.

Your doctor may give you specific instructions on when you can do your normal activities again, such as driving and going back to work.

This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.

How can you care for yourself at home?

Activity

  • You can do your normal activities when it feels okay to do so.
  • Many people are able to return to work within a few days after this procedure.

Diet

  • You can eat your normal diet. If your stomach is upset, try bland, low-fat foods like plain rice, broiled chicken, toast, and yogurt.

Medicines

  • Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
    • If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
    • If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • If you take aspirin or some other blood thinner, be sure to talk to your doctor. He or she will tell you if and when to start taking this medicine again. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
  • Your doctor will tell you if and when you can restart your medicines. He or she will also give you instructions about taking any new medicines.

Incision care

  • You will have a dressing over the cut (incision). A dressing helps the incision heal and protects it. Your doctor will tell you how to take care of this.
  • If you have strips of tape on the cut the doctor made, leave the tape on for a week or until it falls off.
  • If you had stitches, your doctor will tell you when to come back to have them removed.
  • You may shower 24 to 48 hours after the procedure, if your doctor okays it. Pat the incision dry. Do not take a bath for the first 2 weeks, or until your doctor tells you it is okay.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).
  • You have severe trouble breathing.
  • You are having chest pain that is different or worse than usual.
  • You cough up blood.

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have new pain, or your pain gets worse.
  • You have loose stitches, or your incision comes open.
  • You have trouble breathing.
  • You have symptoms of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the incision.
    • Pus draining from the incision.
    • A fever.

Watch closely for any changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if you have any problems.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

Enter G947 in the search box to learn more about "Mediastinoscopy: What to Expect at Home".

Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.