What is Tracheostomy & Can It Be Reversed?

Tracheostomy is a surgical procedure typically temporary or permanent to create a hole in the neck to place a tube in the person’s neck.1

This medical procedure is done for a few reasons that include bypassing a blocked air passage; to clear the secretions in the air passage and safely deliver oxygen to the lungs.2

In emergency cases, a tracheostomy is performed to clear the block however when it is no longer required it is surgically closed.3,4

What Is A Tracheostomy?

There are distinct kinds and dimensions of tracheostomy tubes available and the individual should be given the tube that best fits his/her requirements. Tracheostomy tubes can be cuffed or uncuffed and are designed with an inner cannula that appropriately fits the patient. Speech can be facilitated with a speaking valve that can breathe on its own.1

However, there are a few reasons why a tracheostomy is required. This includes.

Blockage In The Upper Airway: The airway becomes narrowed or blocked due to allergic reactions such as peanut, bee sting, antibiotics, blood pressure medicines, chemical burns, and inflammatory disorders.

Incompetence To Clear Mucus From The Lungs And Airway: Genetically inherited diseases like cystic fibrosis can cause sticky thick mucus to build in the organs including lungs and the pancreas causing obstruction and incapacity to clear mucus in the air passages. When the mucus stays in the lungs it is most likely to cause infections and result in serious complications

Permanent Problem With Breathing And Inhaling: When shortness of breath is chronic it can last for weeks or even longer. This may be mainly due to asthma, pulmonary disease, heart dysfunction, obesity, and chronic lung issues.2

Can Tracheostomy Be Reversed?

Pediatric tracheostomies ensue for numerous reasons including long-term endotracheal intubation (a procedure that’s used when you can’t breathe on your own) that requires a multi-disciplinary approach with regular follow-up.

In most conditions, tracheostomy is endorsed as a temporary procedure to provide an alternative breathing route until the health conditions have improved. However, in patients having chronic conditions and requiring for a long term, tracheostomy is perhaps the best solution to remain connected to the ventilator. Several mechanically ventilated patients in the hyper care units either in a coma or requiring a breathing tube during serious illnesses.

Based on your improvement and resolving medical issues, your healthcare provider will determine whether you continue to require or its time to remove this tube. Similarly, when the patients are out of the induced coma, the doctor suggests removing the breathing tube so they can breathe independently and spontaneously. After the removal, the wound heals shut on its own or closed through a surgical procedure. However, in some patients, a tracheostomy is permanent.3,4

A tracheostomy is a temporary or permanent medical procedure for creating a hole or making an incision in the neck to place a tube inside the patient’s windpipe. During the procedure, the doctor places the tube below the vocal cords for better breathing.

When the patients suffer a blocked airway, this procedure is performed. Tracheostomy also called a stoma bypasses the mouth, nose, and throat and enables proper oxygen levels in the lungs. In some cases, the patient can able to breathe on their own with the help of this tube. However, in the worst cases, the doctor may connect this tube to a ventilator or a breathing machine.

References:

  1. “Tracheostomy: Uses, Procedure, and Complications.” Medical News Today, Medi Lexicon International, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/327088.
  2. “Tracheostomy.” National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/tracheostomy.
  3. “Tracheostomy.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 22 Oct. 2019, www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/tracheostomy/about/pac-20384673
  4. SP. Miranda, KT. Kimmell, et al. “Tracheostomy Reversal Years after Patient Lost to Follow-Up.” Journal of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery, BioMed Central, 1 Jan. 1970, journalotohns.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40463-018-0291-x.

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