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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Surgeries and Procedures > Tracheostomy
      Category : Health Centers > Respiratory System (Lungs and Breathing)


Alternate Names : Trach

Overview & Description | Preparation & Expectations | Home Care and Complications

A tracheostomy is a surgical procedure in which an opening is made through the neck into the windpipre or trachea. A tube is usually placed through this opening to provide an airway. This also allows for removal of secretions from the lungs.

Who is a candidate for the procedure?

Indications for this procedure include:

  • an abnormality of the larynx or trachea present at birth
  • severe neck injuries or mouth injuries
  • inhalation of damaging chemicals, smoke, or steam
  • the presence of an object that blocks the airway
  • paralysis of the muscles that affect swallowing, which can occur with strokes or neuromuscular disorders such as muscular dystrophy
  • long-term unconsciousness or coma
  • How is the procedure performed?

    If time permits, the person is taken to the operating room. The person will be given medication to make him or her sleepy. Many times, this is a life-saving procedure, and there is not time to take the person to the operating room. The procedure may be done in the emergency department. The neck is cleaned and sterile towels are applied. A surgical cut is made to expose the tough cartilage rings that make up the outer wall of the trachea. Two of these rings are cut, and a tube is inserted.


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    Tracheostomy: Preparation & Expectations

    Author: Gail Hendrickson, RN, BS
    Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 09/04/01

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