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The mediastinum is the area in the middle of the chest between the lungs. A mediastinotomy is the creation of a small opening in the upper chest into the mediastinum. This opening allows the doctor to examine the area between and in front of the lungs.
You will be asked to stop eating and drinking for 8-10 hours before the procedure.
You may be asked to stop taking some medications up to one week before the procedure, like:
On the day of the procedure:
You will be asked to remove any jewelry, glasses, contact lenses, or dentures.
You may be given medications to help you feel sleepy and relaxed.
Be sure to tell your doctor if you have any allergies.
You will need someone to drive you home after the procedure.
General anesthesia will block any pain and keep you asleep throughout the procedure. Once you are sedated, a breathing tube will be placed in your throat to help you breathe.
Description of the Procedure
You will lie on your back on an operating table.
Your skin will be cleaned with an antiseptic solution.
The doctor will make a small cut in your chest.
The doctor will move your muscles aside to examine the space between your lungs and heart.
Tissue samples may taken from your lungs, lymph nodes, or other parts of your chest.
When the procedure is finished, the opening will be closed with stitches.
The wound will be covered with a dressing.
Immediately After the Procedure
After the procedure, you will be taken to the recovery room. If all is well, your breathing tube will be removed. The tissue samples will be sent to the laboratory for testing.
How Long Will It Take?
30 minutes to 2 hours
How Much Will It Hurt?
Anesthesia will prevent pain during surgery. Pain and discomfort after the procedure can be managed with medications.
Average Hospital Stay
This procedure can be done in an outpatient setting or as part of your hospital stay. The usual length of stay is up to 24 hours, if there are no unforeseen complications. Some people may need to stay in the hospital for 1-2 days.
At the Hospital
You will be taken to the recovery room after the procedure until the anesthetic wears off.
Your doctor may order a
to check for bleeding or air inside your chest space.
During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection, such as:
Washing their hands
Wearing gloves or masks
Keeping your incisions covered
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chance of infection, such as:
Washing your hands often and reminding your healthcare providers to do the same
Reminding your healthcare providers to wear gloves or masks
Not allowing others to touch your incision
When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
You may feel sleepy for several hours or even 1-2 days following anesthesia. Do not drive during this time.
You may have a sore throat from the tube placement.
Use throat lozenges.
Gargle with warm water.
Keep your wound clean and dry.
Wash your hands before touching the wound.
Use a soft washcloth to gently wipe the wound with soap and water.
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6/6/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance ...(Click grey area to select URL) Mills E, Eyawo O, Lockhart I, Kelly S, Wu P, Ebbert JO. Smoking cessation reduces postoperative complications: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med. 2011;124(2):144-154.e8.
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This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.