What is a tracheostomy?
A tracheostomy is a surgical procedure whereby a small incision is made in the neck and a tube inserted through this incision to allow for air to enter the lungs. The mouth, nose and throat are bypassed as all breathing is done through the tube.
Why is it performed?
This procedure may be performed for various reasons such as upper airway obstruction caused by foreign bodies, severe infections of the upper respiratoty tract or tumours. Tracheostomies may be performed in an emergency situation when an individual’s airway is blocked acutely or as a scheduled procedure for breathing problems or prolonged ICU intabation.
How should I prepare for the procedure?
Tracheostomy can be performed under local or general anaesthetic in a hospital. You will be given specific instructions before the procedure instructing you when to stop eating/drinking and specific medication that may be needed before or after surgery.
What can I expect after the surgery?
After the surgery you will be monitored closely. We pay very careful attention to managing your pain after the procedure. Tracheostomy is not usually permamant, and removing the tube is considered once the initial problem has been resolved.