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(trākēŏt`əmē), surgical incision into the trachea, or windpipe. The operation is performed when the windpipe has become blocked, e.g., by the presence of some foreign object or by swelling of the larynx. A curved or flexible tube is inserted into the trachea to facilitate breathing. In diseases such as pneumonia that cause the lungs to fill with fluids, this same incision may be used to drain the lungs. A tracheostomy is the surgical formation of a rounded opening into the trachea and differs from a tracheotomy in that the former procedure establishes a permanent opening.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



an emergency operation performed in cases of arrested breathing; a resuscitation technique. The operation was known to the ancient Greek physicians Asclepiades and Galen and has been performed regularly since the 16th century.

Tracheotomy permits the free passage of air into the respiratory tract when the trachea is obstructed as a result of an inflammatory swelling, tumor, spasm of the vocal cords, injury, or foreign body. The incision is made below the obstruction. Modern indications for tracheotomy have been broadened to include cases of respiratory disturbances when the respiratory tract is unobstructed. Such cases include unconsciousness accompanied by the loss of the coughing and breathing reflexes, impairment of the respiratory mechanism after a chest injury, and pulmonary edema.

In tracheotomy, the trachea is generally incised longitudinally or transversely above (superior tracheotomy) or below (inferior tracheotomy) the isthmus of the thyroid. When an emergency tracheotomy is performed at the site of an accident, any available instrument, such as a penknife, may be used. A double tube made of high-grade metal or plastic is inserted into the incision. The inside tube is periodically removed and replaced, or cleansed and sterilized. The upper respiratory tract is cleansed through a tracheostoma, or opening in the trachea. Through this opening, mucus is removed by suction, the trachea is irrigated, and medicine is administered. Artificial respiration is carried out through the tracheostoma as well. After breathing is restored, the tube inserted in the tracheostoma is removed. The opening in the trachea usually heals without complications.


Arapov, D. A., and Iu. V. Isakov. Trakheostomiia v sovremennoi klinike, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1974.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


surgical incision into the trachea, usually performed when the upper air passage has been blocked
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
A 61-year-old male, who suffered from gingiva cancer and underwent wide excision and tracheostomy 2 weeks ago, was scheduled for wound debridement.
Pediatric tracheostomy: Survival and long-term outcomes, Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol.
The complaint alleges Grande breached the standard of care when she did not detect and treat MJB's respiratory distress and assess the tracheostomy tube.
Tracheostomy was then recom-mended for a large variety indications other than obstructive causes.
The patient underwent modified Le Fort III osteotomy with maxillary advancement and bilateral sagittal mandibular split with tracheostomy in July 2007.
This was a retrospective review of medical records of pediatric patients (age 1 month-18 years) who underwent tracheostomy in a tertiary mixed medical/surgical PICU from 2008 to 2014.
As the team was preparing for the tracheostomy, the PIP alarm kept going off.
To assess the impact of downsizing TTs on successful decannulation in adults in a LTAC hospital in Missouri, a retrospective chart assessment (N=250) was implemented for ordering and application of the TT downsizing portion of a Tracheostomy Management Protocol (TMP).
She was, then, transferred to another rehabilitation clinic with gastrostomy tube for feeding, spontaneous respiration via tracheostomy cannula, and in state of Glasgow Coma Scale score 8.
The first case of TPO during surgical tracheostomy was reported by Nikandish et al.
Fifty three Medical ICU patients underwent tracheostomy procedure through percutaneous dilatational technique using both Grigg's and Ciaglia's methods.