Understanding The Tracheostomy Procedure

The tracheostomy is a procedure that involves putting a tube through the throat and into the windpipe. The pipe may be temporary or permanent, depending on the needs of the patient. The tracheostomy procedure can be used to treat a variety of issues, from anaphylaxis to sleep apnea.

If you are about to undergo this procedure, it may be time to consider how it happens and what you can do to minimize potential complications.

Preparing for a Tracheostomy

While not everybody will have the opportunity to prepare for this procedure, your goal is to be as ready as possible if you can be. If you have a planned tracheostomy, your doctor will ask that you not eat in the hours leading up to the procedure. Of course, if the procedure is for an emergency (like during anaphylactic shock), the doctor can still perform the procedure if you have not fasted.

You do not need to do much during the tracheostomy procedure. In fact, you will be put to sleep with anesthesia for most of it, assuming the procedure was scheduled. If the situation is an emergency, you will receive local anesthesia. You won't be able to feel much, but you will be awake.

During the Tracheostomy

Once the area has been numbed, or you have been put to sleep, the doctor will cut a small hole in your throat. You won't feel this. The hole will be as deep as your windpipe and just large enough to accommodate the tube. The tube can be hooked up to a ventilator if need be.

Healing After a Tracheostomy

The first few days after a tracheostomy will take some getting used to. It can take several days to feel comfortable with the tube, and you may initially struggle to make sounds and form words at first.

This is a critical time to pay close attention to any symptoms that arise as well. A tracheostomy, like any surgery, does come with some health risks, though they are rare. If you struggle to breathe or feel intense pain or signs of infection, alert your doctor immediately.

Speak With Your Doctor

The best way to prepare for a tracheostomy procedure and the necessary tracheostomy care is to speak with your doctor today. Understanding the surgical procedure can take away some of the stress that is common with undergoing a surgery. After discussing the risks and benefits, you will know you are in good hands.