July 27, 2017

Tracheotomy / Tracheostomy

A tracheostomy is a surgically created hole through the neck. When the patient is having difficulty breathing on his/her own because of an existing condition or obstruction, this procedure will allow breathing to be assisted.

How a tracheostomy is performed

A tracheostomy is usually performed while the patient is under anesthesia. By making an incision through the skin on the neck and into the windpipe (trachea), a tracheostomy tube, made of plastic, is placed into the trachea. The breathing tube is then connected to a breathing machine that provides the patient with oxygen. Sutures are then used to close the incision and secure the tube at the site.

Risks

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Injury to nerves
  • Damage to the thyroid gland
  • Scarring of the trachea

Goals of a tracheostomy

  • Assist breathing
  • Provide more oxygen to the lungs