Mediastinal Tumor Resection
Pronunciation: Mee-dee-a-STYE-nulEn Español (Spanish Version)
This is surgery to remove tumors in the area of the chest cavity that separates the lungs.
Regions of the Lung
© 2011 Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
Reasons for Procedure
Malignant (cancerous) tumors must be removed to prevent the spread of cancer. Without removal or treatment, the cancer could spread to other areas of the body. The cancer could also start to compress organs in the chest, such as the heart, lungs, or esophagus.
Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have mediastinal tumor resection, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
- Damage to the areas surrounding the tumor, including the heart, lungs, and spinal cord
- Fluid collecting between the lung tissue lining and the wall of the chest cavity
- Drainage, infection, or bleeding
Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
Before the surgery, your doctor may do the following:
- Physical exam
- Blood tests
- X-ray—a test that uses radiation to take a picture of structures inside the body
- MRI scan—a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of structures inside the body
- CT scan—a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of the inside of the body
Leading up to the surgery:
Talk to your doctor about your medicines. You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to one week before the procedure, like:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs (eg, aspirin)
- Blood thinners, such as clopidogrel (Plavix) or warfarin (Coumadin)
- Eat a light meal the night before the surgery. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
- Arrange for someone to drive you home from the hospital. Also, arrange for help at home.
General anesthesia will be used. It will block any pain and keep you asleep through the surgery.
Description of the Procedure
You will have a breathing tube and be given an IV. The IV will be used to give you medicines and fluids during the surgery.
To remove the tumor, the doctor will either make one large, central incision in the chest or several small incisions. If several small incisions are made, a camera will be inserted into one incision. The camera will allow the doctor to view the area via monitor. Through the other incisions, surgical tools will be inserted.
The doctor may insert tubes in your chest. These tubes will help to drain fluid and air from the chest cavity. The incisions will be closed with staples or stitches.
Immediately After Procedure
The breathing tube will be removed. You will be monitored closely for any complications from the procedure.
How Long Will It Take?
About 1-4 hours (depending on the type of surgery)
How Much Will It Hurt?
The anesthesia will ease discomfort after surgery. It is common for the surgical area to be tender. Your doctor will give you pain medicine.
Average Hospital Stay
This surgery is done in a hospital setting. The usual length of stay is four days. Your doctor may choose to keep you longer if complications arise.
After surgery, you may need chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.
In the hospital, you will be given a clear liquid diet. You will be instructed to practice deep breathing and coughing to help your lungs recover.
Once you are home, be sure to follow your doctor's instructions, including:
- Avoid lifting objects heavier than five pounds.
- Do not to drive for 4-6 weeks.
- Increase your activity as you are able. This will help you recover.
Ask your doctor about when it is safe to shower, bathe, or soak in water.
Call Your Doctor
After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or any discharge from the incision site
- Pain that you cannot control with the medicines you have been given
- Cough, difficulty breathing, or chest pain
- Pain, burning, urgency, or frequency of urination, or persistent bleeding in the urine
- Persistent nausea and/or vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Pain and/or swelling in your feet, calves, or legs
- Any other worrisome symptoms
In case of an emergency, CALL 911.
American Cancer Society
National Cancer Institute
BC Cancer Agency
Canadian Cancer Society
Flores RM. Surgical management of primary mediastinal germ cell tumors. The Cardiothoracic Surgery Network website. Available at: http://www.ctsnet.org/sections/clinicalresources/thoracic/expert_tech-3.html. Updated May 2005. Accessed March 1, 2007.
Khatri VP, Asensio JA. Operative Surgery Manual. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders; 2003.
Liu HP, Yim AP, Wan J, et al. Thorascopic removal of intrathoracic neurogenic tumors: a combined Chinese experience. Annals of Surgery. 2000;232:187-190.
Townsend CM, et al. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 17th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders; 2004.
6/3/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance: 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.
Last reviewed December 2010 by Marcin Chwistek, MD
Last updated Updated: 6/3/2011
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © 2011 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.