A tracheostomy is a surgical procedure in which an opening is created in the neck to directly access the trachea (windpipe). This opening is known as a tracheostomy or tracheotomy. A tracheostomy is usually performed to bypass an obstruction in the upper airway, such as a tumor, or to allow easier airway access for suctioning or ventilation.
Tracheostomies are commonly performed in critically ill patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) or emergency department. They are also used in patients with long-term airway problems, such as neuromuscular diseases or severe obstructive sleep apnea.
The procedure is performed using local or general anesthesia, and a tube is inserted into the stoma to allow air to flow directly into the trachea. This tube is called a tracheostomy tube, and it is secured in place with sutures or a strap to prevent it from coming out.
Tracheostomy may be performed in a variety of situations, such as when a person has a blockage in their upper airway, a severe injury to their head or neck, or a neurological condition that affects their ability to breathe. It may also be used as a long-term solution for individuals who need prolonged mechanical ventilation, such as those with chronic respiratory failure.
Tracheostomy care is an important part of the recovery process. Keeping the tracheostomy tube and surrounding area clean and infection-free is important. The tracheostomy tube should be changed regularly, and the skin around the tracheostomy should be monitored for signs of infection.
After the tracheostomy procedure, the patient will receive care to manage the stoma and tracheostomy tube, such as suctioning of secretions from the airway, cleaning the stoma site, and changing the tracheostomy tube as needed. With proper care and monitoring, a tracheostomy can help improve breathing and quality of life for individuals with certain medical conditions or injuries.
Tracheostomy care is a complex process and should be performed by a trained healthcare professional. It is important to follow the healthcare provider's instructions and seek medical attention if any complications arise.