Tracheostomy

This information is useful for children, adults, and older adults
An older woman in a pink blouse listens to her doctor during a check up.
Why Yale Medicine?
  • Our doctors are committed to patients' quality of life.
  • We perform hundreds of tracheostomies a year.
  • We have several options for tracheostomy tubes and will select ones that appropriate for each patient.

You might not think about your throat as often as you do other parts of your body, but it’s important for many daily functions, including speaking and breathing. Central to a lot of these function is the trachea, a large membranous tube reinforced by rings of cartilage, that connects the voice box to the lungs. If the trachea is damaged or blocked, it could block airflow from your mouth to your lungs. One solution to this problem is a tracheostomy.  A tracheostomy is a temporary or permanent opening surgically created through the neck into the trachea (or windpipe) where a tube is then placed so that the patient can breathe. The procedure is also called a tracheotomy, but both terms are often used interchangeably. 

“A tracheotomy may seem scary to some patients, but they’re relatively simple and safe to insert and even easier to remove when no longer needed,” says Saral Mehra, MD, an otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat specialist) at Yale Medicine.