Tracheostomy – An Introduction

Tracheostomy pic

As owner of ENT Associates of Northwest Florida, Dr. William B. Clark treats patients with a variety of disorders of the ear, nose, and throat. Dr. William B. Clark builds on more than 32 years of professional experience and has an in-depth understanding of tracheostomy procedures.

Defined as a surgically introduced hole from the trachea to the outside air, a tracheostomy helps to bypass obstructed or damaged airways. It is particularly common for patients who require extended use of a ventilator, though it may also help to reconstruct the airway after surgery on the larynx or trachea. In addition, it may provide support for patients with breathing difficulties due to injury or illness of the lungs or throat, while other patients receive a tracheostomy to protect the airway following head and neck surgery. Similarly, for patients with swallowing disorders, it may help to keep food out of the lungs.

Many patients only need a tracheostomy while in the hospital, though some are permanent or semipermanent and go home with the patient. In these cases, the patient must take special care to keep the tube clean. This process includes a thorough sanitization of the tube as well as the inner and outer cannula, and a thorough disinfection of exposed skin near the opening. It is extremely important for patients with a tracheostomy to follow specific instructions from a health care provider.