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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.



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.


surgical incision into the trachea, usually performed when the upper air passage has been blocked
References in periodicals archive ?
Historically, an emergency tracheotomy and/or fiberoptic intubation have been used to secure the airway.
Tracheotomy as a surgical access for removal of bullet in the trachea: A case report.
Subsequently, emergency percutaneous tracheotomy was performed by the ENT team.
The doctors are baffled as to how Darcie can speak, but eight months ago she was the first child with a tracheotomy to be discharged from speech and language therapy - she didn't need it.
The patient suffered acute respiratory failure, and the cannula was removed from the tracheotomy line and an appropriate-size intubation tube was inserted into the collapsed area deep enough to ventilate both lungs.
The goal of the present study was to determine the impact of percutaneous tracheotomy on VAP incidence and etiology, as well as outcome of VAP patients with percutaneous tracheotomy.
The ventral midline area of neck region was prepared aseptically for tracheotomy.
After tracheotomy, direct laryngoscopy and bronchoscopy demonstrated crusting and necrosis from above the glottis to the carina tracheae (figure 2).
The plan was to intubate orally and after tracheotomy was performed, depending upon the ability to ventilate the patient and maintain saturation levels, decide whether to continue with oral endotracheal tube or introduce through the tracheotomy and maneuver the tube into the left bronchus under telescopic guidance if needed.
assemble 14 chapters that review all tracheotomy procedures and acute and chronic tracheotomy care for healthcare providers such as anesthesiologists, nurse anesthetists, and critical care and emergency physicians managing patients with tracheotomies.
Tracheotomy is the surgical opening of the trachea, whilst tracheostomy is creating an opening in the anterior tracheal wall and converting it into a stoma.
The child had been treated since October at London Health Sciences Centre in Ontario, which refused to perform the tracheotomy, saying it is not palliative and was not medically appropriate.