Surgically created, a tracheostomy is a hole added to the windpipe to improve a patient’s breathing. A curved tube will then be inserted through the opening, also known as a stoma, to pass to the patient’s lungs.
Patients tend to receive a tracheostomy if they experience difficulty swallowing, have elevated aspiration risks, can’t expel their own mucus or will be using a mechanical ventilator.
The typical trach tube includes three basic parts: an outer cannula, designed to keep the stoma open, the inner cannula that locks in place and can be removed for cleaning, and the obturator, a device used to position the system.
Duration varies based on use. The trach tube may end up being temporary if the issue — particularly an airway, coughing or secretion concern — resolves itself. Patients using a trach tube to manage sleep apnea will use it permanently.
Trach tubes include the following types and components: