What is a tracheotomy? It’s a surgical procedure wherein an opening is made and a tube is inserted into the front of your trachea through which air can pass into your lungs. The opening is referred to as a tracheostomy.
Why a tracheotomy is performed is usually because not enough air is reaching your lungs. There are a variety of health conditions that can temporarily or permanently impair the flow of air via your nose and mouth, for instance:
- Ludwig’s angina
- object obstruction
- pharyngeal paralysis
- motor neurone disease
- Guillain-Barre syndrome
- severe oral, throat infection
- traumatic face, neck, head injury
- cancer ~ mouth, laryngeal, thyroid
- mucus build up caused by dysphagia
A tracheotomy is either performed in an emergency or planned in advance. If the condition for which a tracheotomy was performed is corrected, then the tube is removed, the throat opening is closed and your trachea is allowed to heal.
For some conditions, the tracheostomy air supply is necessary long term. Unless you are on a ventilator, you will be instructed on how to care for your permanent breathing hole to minimize future problems, like an infection, and talking is possible provided your vocal cords were not damaged.