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Reasons for Procedure
The airway is obstructed at or above the level of the larynx (voice box), due to:
- Trauma to the neck area
- Obstructing tumors in the upper airway
Respiratory failure requiring long-term mechanical breathing assistance, as in these cases:
- Spinal cord injury in the neck area
- Severe lung infection or inflammation
- Injury to the respiratory tract due to breathing in smoke or steam or inhaling corrosive substances
- Birth defects of the trachea or larynx
- Foreign object blocking the trachea or larynx
- Severe sleep apnea
- Damage to the vocal cords, vocal cord nerves, or esophagus
- Damage to the lungs
- Difficulty swallowing
- Low blood pressure
- Tracheostomy tube displacement or damage
- Scarring at the site of operation leading to closure of the tracheostomy
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
- Chest x-ray —a test that uses radiation to take a picture of structures inside the body
- Blood and urine tests
- Review of medicines
- Aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (eg, ibuprofen , naproxen )
- Blood-thinning drugs, such as warfarin (Coumadin)
- Anti-platelet drugs, such as clopidogrel (Plavix)
Description of Procedure
Immediately After Procedure
How Long Will It Take?
How Much Will It Hurt?
Average Hospital Stay
- Keep the stoma area clean. Clean it daily with mild soap and water or with hydrogen peroxide. Replace the dressing with a clean dry one.
- Ask your doctor about when it is safe to shower, bathe, or soak in water.
Learn the proper daily
care of your tracheostomy tube
. This will help maintain its function. Care includes the following, which you will be taught shortly after the surgery:
- Cleaning the tube
- Suctioning the tube regularly to keep it from becoming blocked with secretions
- Humidifying the air you breathe
- Covering the tracheostomy hole with a scarf or other cloth when going outside, so that dust, dirt, and other foreign particles cannot get in
- Being very cautious about breathing in water or small particles through the tracheostomy (such as food bits, powders, aerosol sprays, dust)
- Covering the tracheostomy hole with your fingers in order to speak
- Consult a speech therapist if recommended by your doctor.
- Take antibiotics, if prescribed by your doctor.
- Return to daily activities and work as soon as possible to promote healing.
- Avoid vigorous exercise for six weeks after surgery.
- Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions.
Call Your Doctor
- Signs of infection, including cough, excessive foul-smelling mucous, fever, and chills
- Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or any discharge from the incision site
- Nausea and/or vomiting that you cannot control with the medicines you were given after surgery, or which persist for more than two days after discharge from the hospital
- Pain that you cannot control with the medicines you have been given
- Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
- New, unexplained symptoms
- Tracheostomy tube falls out and you cannot replace it--Call for medical help right away.
American Lung Association http://www.lungusa.org/
National Institutes of Health http://www.nih.gov/
Canadian Journal of Surgery http://www.cma.ca/
The Lung Association http://www.lung.ca/
Beers MH, Berkow R, et al. The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy . 18th ed. Merck & Co.; 2006.
Creighton University School of Medicine website. Available at: http://medicine.creighton.edu/ . Accessed October 14, 2005.
Cummings CW, et al. Otolayrngology: Head and Neck Surgery . 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby, 2005.
Marx J, et al. Rosen's Emergency Medicine .7th ed. St. Louis, MO: Mosby, Inc., 2009.
The PDR Family Guide Encyclopedia of Medical Care . New York, NY: Ballantine Books; 1998.
Sleep apnea: treatment and drugs. Mayo Clinic website. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/tracheostomy/MY00261 . Updated June 29, 2010. Accessed April 4, 2011.
Tracheostomy. Mayo Clinic website. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/tracheostomy/MY00261 . Updated November 2008. Accessed November 12, 2010.
- Reviewer: Marcin Chwistek, MD
- Review Date: 11/2012 -
- Update Date: 11/26/2012 -