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A Mediastinoscopy is a procedure that a lung cancer patient undergoes when they are fighting the disease. It entails a doctor looking at the area in the middle of your chest between your lungs, to see if cancer has spread to any vital organs. If it has, then there are next steps doctors must take to stem it's spread. If it hasn't then it is a relatively good sign. Often though there is often still a long way to go. Below are some helpful facts about this procedure.

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What Happens in the Procedure?

During the procedure, the surgeon will make a small incision in the middle of the patient's lower neck. They will then insert a metal tube that has both a light and camera in it. They will then examine your organs in your chest to see if there has been any spread of cancer. Tissue biopsies will also be taken from your body during this procedure to further check for any spread of cancer through lab tests.

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What Medications Should You Stop Taking Before the Procedure?

A number of medications should not be taken before this procedure. This is for your safety since you will have to go under general anesthetic. Your doctor will tell you what these are. If you have diabetes and take medications for the condition, those should be stopped for a short time around the lead-up to the procedure. Again, your doctor should provide specific details for what to do here.

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Do You Need a Letter From Your Doctor?

Yes, you will need a letter from your doctor only if you have an automatic implantable cardioverter-defibrillator. This will have to be from your cardiologist who will ensure that the procedure won't affect your heart when you have it done. If they won't give you the letter, then another procedure will have to be done to check for the spread of cancer to your lymph nodes.

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How Long Do You Have to Stay in the Hospital After the Procedure?

You shouldn't have to stay in the hospital longer than a few hours after the procedure. Unless there are other complications arise that the surgeon or your doctor didn't foresee occurring. As only a small incision is made in the neck, the healing can be done from the comfort of your own home. Just make sure you have made arrangements for someone to pick you up and take you home after the procedure. Driving yourself is out of the question.

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What Should You Eat And Drink Before Surgery?

Because you will be going under anesthesia, it is critical that you don't eat or drink within a certain amount of time of your surgery. After midnight before the surgery, don't eat anything, including hard candy or gum. You can drink water until 2 hours before your surgery, but no more than 12 ounces total - that's one bottle of water. Within two hours of your surgery, don't drink any water at all.

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Things to Remember on the Day of Your Procedure

There are many things to remember the day of this procedure. First, follow all the prior directions about eating and drinking, as well as taking or not taking any medication your doctor has told you not to take. Also don't wear lotions, creams, make-up or perfumes. Metal jewelry or body piercings should also not be worn, as they can interfere with some of the machines that will be used during surgery. No contacts only glasses and leave valuables, like credit card and wallet at home, so they are not lost or forgotten.

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What to Bring to the Hospital the Day of Your Procedure

There are also a number of things you should bring with you to the hospital the day of your procedure. These include any medications you may need following the surgery, once you are out of anesthesia. Any patches, creams, or an inhaler if you require one. A case for your glasses will also be necessary if you wear them. And if you need to have a medical proxy form completed, have that done and ready when you arrive.

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What to Expect Once You Arrive At the Hospital

Be prepared to fill about a number of forms when you arrive, stating your name, address and other identifying details. This is for your safety, as you may not be able to divulge these easily after surgery. Then you will meet with nurse and doctor before the procedure to go over exactly what is about to happen and make sure you understand and are OK with what will be done. You will have to sign a consent form before anything can happen. A team of orderlies will help you to get ready for the procedure itself and take you to the operating room.

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What to Expect After the Procedure in the Hospital

When you awake from anesthesia after your surgery, you will be in a recovery unit being monitored by a nurse and will be receiving oxygen through a tube. After checking that everything is alright and you are feeling good, the nurse may bring you something to eat and drink. They may also do some chest X-rays to make sure that everything was done well during the procedure itself.

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What to Expect at Home While You Are Recovering

There will be some temporary discomfort for about one to three days after the procedure. It will be around the incision site. Hoarseness or a sore throat can also accompany this pain around the cut, but it is normal to have this. Soft foods should be eaten in this time so as not to put more stress on the throat or incision. Call your doctor if the pain gets worse, or a sore throat persists more than three days. Your doctor will be scheduling a follow-up visit for you in the next two weeks.

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Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.