Tracheostomy is surgery that is sometimes used to treat obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). In this surgery, the surgeon creates a permanent opening in the neck to the windpipe (trachea). He or she then puts a tube into the opening to let air in.
What To Expect After Surgery
The time needed for the opening in the neck to heal can vary.
Why It Is Done
A tracheostomy is done only if you have severe sleep apnea, other treatments have failed, and other forms of surgery won't work for you.
How Well It Works
Risks that may occur with a tracheostomy include:
What To Think About
Tracheostomy is not typically used to treat sleep apnea. That's because other treatments work well in most people.
People who are very overweight have more long-term problems after this surgery than other people do. For very overweight people, the surgeon must take greater care during the surgery to keep the opening from being blocked by fatty neck tissues.
Proper care of your tracheostomy is important. Keep the valve closed during the day so that you can talk and breathe. Tell your doctor right away if you notice signs of infection. These signs include redness, swelling, and drainage at the surgery site. Talk with your doctor or surgeon if you have concerns or questions.
Primary Medical ReviewerAnne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerMark A. Rasmus, MD - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Sleep Medicine
Current as ofAugust 21, 2015