What Is Tracheostomy Surgery And Is A Tracheostomy Permanent?

What Is Tracheostomy Surgery And Is A Tracheostomy Permanent?

What is Tracheostomy?

Many people may have heard of the word tracheostomy, however, does not know what it exactly indicates. A tracheostomy is a surgical procedure where the doctors cut and make a hole in the trachea, which is the windpipe and inserts a tube into the opening to assist breathing. A tracheostomy may either be permanent or temporary based on the requirement s of the patient. Tracheostomy tube that is inserted to bypass the trachea can also be removed once the patient can breathe regularly. This is a temporary surgery. Again, a person with permanent damage or loss of function around the larynx or the swallowing area may require an enduring tracheostomy tube to help them breathe at night. So is a tracheotomy permanent? It is in some cases.

Why is A Tracheostomy Performed?

So why is a tracheostomy performed? A tracheotomy is performed for various kinds of reasons. That usually involve restricted airways. This surgery may be done if your airways are blocked, and you have difficulty in breathing. It can also be used when your normal breathing functions are blocked due to any kind of disease. A tracheostomy is usually performed in case of

  • Birth defects in the air passage
  • Chronic lung disease
  • Facial burns or surgery
  • Anaphylaxis due to food allergies
  • Cancer in the neck
  • Infection and injuries in the chest and lungs
  • Tumor
  • Paralysis of the vocal chord

Uses of The Tracheostomy Tube

There are various tracheostomy parts and functions, and sometimes damage of the same may hinder the functions like talking, swallowing of food and breathing.
A tracheostomy surgery is carried out to

  • Deliver oxygen to the lungs in case you are unable to breathe normally
  • It allows you to breathe if your throat is blocked by a tumor
  • It reduces the risk of food or fluid that enters into the lungs if you find coughing difficult

Is A Tracheostomy Permanent?

A tracheostomy surgery may be temporary or permanent, based on the requirements and condition of the patient. If you have a severe long-term condition, you may need to have a permanent tracheostomy that will help you to breathe well. A person would however not need to worry about a permanent tracheostomy. Though it may take a little time for a person to adjust, you can live a good quality life with a tracheostomy. People initially have a little difficulty in taking, eating, swallowing, gulping food, exercising and keeping the tracheostomy tube clean and free of blockages.

Preparation of A Surgical Tracheostomy

A tracheostomy surgery is one of the most common surgical procedures that are performed nowadays. Once you decide to perform a tracheostomy operation, the surgeon must decide if the patient is suitable for the surgery and also get the written consent of the patient. The range of the motion of the neck also needs to be reviewed before the operation. The tracheostomy surgery team that includes the anesthesiologists and the surgeons would need to discuss the situation for the procedure.Also, ensure that all types of equipment function well. The following equipment is required for the surgical procedure.

  • Single dilator kit and video bronchoscopy to perform the procedure
  • An intubation roll and a cricoid hook
  • Open tracheostomy set.
  • A good anesthesiologist must be present for maintenance of airway
  • Provision of the intravenous sedation and performance of bronchoscopy

Tracheostomy Procedure and Techniques

In most of the cases, the tracheostomy surgery is performed in the ICU or the operative room, as it is a sensitive operation. The patients would have to be duly monitored by the pulse oximeter and cardiac rhythm. The anesthesiologists mix some intravenous medication and a local anesthetic in order to make the procedure comfortable for the patient.

  • The surgeon makes a small incision low in the neck
  • Then the trachea is identified in the middle, and an opening is created to allow for breathing passage by a tracheostomy tube, which would be inserted below the voice box. This technique is performed in a neat and safe manner by new and improved techniques via a percutaneous approach rather than open surgery.
  • Specialist equipment also be used to warm and moisten that air that you breathe
  • In case you are unable to breathe, the tracheostomy tube can be attached to a machine that supplies oxygen to assist the patient with breathing and to increase the oxygen flow into the lungs

Are There any Risks of A Tracheostomy Procedure?

Though a tracheostomy operation is a common operation nowadays, the surgery involves potential complications at times as well as injuries from unforeseen causes. Different individuals take their own time to heal, and there is no guarantee made as to potential results. Tracheostomy surgeries are usually performed during emergency situations on ill patients. The following complications are noted after a tracheotomy procedure

  • Obstruction of the airways
  • Bleeding in rare situations and the need for the blood transfusion
  • Damage to the larynx with the permanent change in voice
  • Need for further surgery
  • Infection
  • Trapping of air in the surrounding tissues or chest
  • Scarring of the airways in rare scenarios
  • Need for the permanent tracheostomy

After having a tracheotomy surgery, you would need to stay in the hospital for some days till the stitch dried up. The tube may or may not be removed according to the surgery performed. If it is a permanent surgery, the tube would stay in to help you breathe and permanent tracheostomy care needs to be maintained. So if you have a question as to is a tracheostomy permanent, it may be, depending on the situation.

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Kaushal M. Bhavsar (MBBS, MD)Assistant Professor in Pulmonary Medicine, GMERS Medical College, Ahmedabad