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Tracheotomy also referred to as Tracheostomy is basically a surgical procedure that is used to create a permanent opening called tracheostomy into the trachea (windpipe) from an incision on the anterior aspect of the neck for the installation of a breathing tube. Tracheotomy helps a patient to breathe through the tracheostomy tube fitted in the trachea, thereby bypassing the nose or mouth. Tracheotomy is helpful in cases where the upper respiratory tract is obstructed.
Difference between Tracheotomy and Tracheostomy
The terms Tracheotomy and Tracheostomy are often used interchangeably but, there is a difference in their meaning. While tracheotomy refers to the surgical procedure and incision into the trachea, the term tracheostomy refers to the physical opening that allows breathing and removal of secretions from the lungs.
Tracheostomy is an important surgical procedure that is used in the treatment of several health complications like, in an emergency situation when the upper respiratory tract is blocked, a tracheotomy is performed to bypass the obstruction in the upper airway and provide oxygen to the lungs or to remove secretions from the lungs.
Some of the health conditions that require tracheostomy are as follows;
-When the upper respiratory tract is blocked by any foreign object
-In case of injury to the larynx, neck or mouth
-In cases of severe infection in the upper respiratory tract like in the epiglottis or croup
-Presence of tumour in the upper respiratory tract that is causing blockages in breathing normally
-To treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea
-In the treatment of Chronic Pulmonary Disease
-In dysfunction of the diaphragm
Tracheotomy is performed in the safe and sterile environment of a hospital with the patient under general anaesthesia.
The patient’s neck is extended over the shoulder roll and the endotracheal tube is so positioned that its cuff is at level with the middle of the vocal cord.
After that an incision of about 3-4 cm is made into the inferior border of the cricoid cartilage. The thyroid isthmus is then pushed down with unobtrusive dissection of the pretracheal tissue. The next step is the stabilisation of the larynx, after that a bronchoscopy is performed. A dilater is then stacked and used to enlarge the tissue between the skin and tracheal lumen, setting up the zone for the arrangement of the tracheostomy tube.
Post operative care is then advised to patient to aid the recovery process following the surgical procedure and reduce the risk of infections and complication.
Although complications are a rarity but, still there are a few cases of complications reported after tracheotomy. Some of the common tracheotomy complications are as follows;
-Bleeding of the trachea or the tracheostomy
-Pneumothorax or trapping of air resulting in collapsed lungs.
-Pneumomediastinum or subcutaneous emphysema
-Difficulties in speaking and swallowing due to damage to the esophagus or larynx
-Blockage of tracheostomy tube by blood clots or mucus
-Accidental decannulation or removal of the tracheostomy tube
-Infection of the trachea
-Difficulty breathing due to narrowed or collapsed esophagus
Tracheostomy care is crucial as improper or lack of care can lead to infections and difficulty in speaking, swallowing and breathing among other complications. Tracheostomy care mainly involves suctioning to prevent occlusions and replacing supplies and removing secretions. Suctioning is only performed when it is clinically necessary due to the risks involved like, hypoxia or collapsing lungs and infection.
It usually takes around couple of days to get adjusted to the tracheostomy tube and speech would also be hampered since air does not pass through the voice box. Some patients find covering the tracheostomy tube to be helpful while speaking. In other cases a special valves are attached to help with the speech.
Tracheostomy care requires professional help as it has quite a few risks involved. With our at home healthcare service easily available why travel all the way to a clinic. We have a comprehensive team of healthcare professionals from reputable doctors to experienced nurses and other healthcare professionals trained and equipped with the medical expertise to provide care to the patients. So, if you need tracheostomy care at home just give us a call and our representative would visit you at your home at the time and day of your convenience.
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