Tracheotomy is the surgical creation of an opening from the outside of the neck into the windpipe. A tube is inserted into the opening to allow for normal breathing.

Tracheostomy
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A tracheotomy is done to bypass obstructions that are interfering with breathing. The opening is called a stoma or tracheostomy. A stoma may be either temporary or permanent.

A tracheotomy is done to restore normal breathing in the following situations:

  • The airway is obstructed at or above the level of the larynx, which is also known as the voice box, due to:
    • Trauma to the neck area
    • Obstructing tumors in the upper airway
    • Vocal cord paralysis
    • Removal of larynx for throat cancer
  • Respiratory failure requiring long-term mechanical breathing assistance, as in these cases:
    • Spinal cord injury in the neck area
    • Severe lung infection or inflammation
  • If you have been on a ventilator for 21 days
  • 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