Tracheostomy 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.
A tracheostomy is done only if you have severe sleep apnea, other treatments have failed, and other forms of surgery for the condition are not appropriate.
Tracheostomy almost always cures sleep apnea that is caused by blockage of the upper airway.1
Complications and risks that may occur with a tracheostomy include:
Tracheostomy is not typically used to treat sleep apnea, because other treatments are effective in most people.
People who are very overweight have more long-term problems after a tracheostomy than other people who have the procedure. For very overweight people, the surgeon must take greater care during the procedure 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 normally. Tell your doctor right away if you notice signs of infection (redness, swelling, or drainage) at the site of your tracheostomy. If you have concerns or questions about your tracheostomy, talk with your doctor or surgeon.
Last Revised: June 17, 2011
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