What is a Tracheostomy?


A tracheostomy is a opening created at the front of the neck so the tube can be inserted into the windpipe to help you to breathe. The tube can be connected to an oxygen supply and a breathing machine called a ventilator, the tube can also be removed if there is fluid that’s built up in the throat and windpipe.

Why should someone have a Tracheostomy?

The reason why someone would need a tracheostomy is to remove any fluid that’s built up in the airways. This may be needed if you are unable to cough properly because of long term pain, muscle weakness or paralysis. You can have a serious lung infection such as pneumonia that is caused by your lungs being clogged with fluids.

What are the risk of Tracheostomy?

The following can happen if you are at risk of a tracheostomy:

  • Bleeding
  • Collapsed Lungs
  • Accidental Injury
  • Infection


Bleeding is common for there to be some bleeding from the windpipe or the tracheostomy  this is usually minor and can improve within a few days. In some cases it can be significant and a blood transfusion may be needed.

Collapsed Lungs 

Collapsed Lungs sometimes air will collect around the lungs and cause them to collapse inwards and this is known as a pneumothorax. This could be mild and it often corrects itself without treatment and it is serious, surgery will be required to implant a tube into the chest to drain the airway.

Accidental Injury  

The nerves near the windpipe can be accidently damaged such as controlling the voice box or the tube that runs from the back of the throat to the stomach. This may cause problems with speaking and swallowing.


The windpipe or nearby tissues can become infected. If this happens you will need to get treated with speaking and swallowing.

Can you talk after having a Tracheostomy?

It is usually difficult to speak when you have a tracheostomy but in even when you have a tracheostomy taken out. Some speeches in generated when air passes over the vocal cords at the back of the throat. After a tracheostomy most of the airways you breathe out will pass through your tracheostomy instead of your vocal cords.

What are the long-term effects of a Tracheostomy?

The long term effects of a tracheostomy are long term complications such as tracheal stenosis, swallowing disorders, voice complaints or scarring. Swallowing disorders were described as difficulty swallowing, pain or aspiration. The voice complications were mainly complaints.

Can you live a normal life with a Tracheostomy?

Yes, you can live a normal life when you have a tracheostomy because you can still enjoy a good quality of life with a permanent Tracheostomy tube. Some people will maybe find it difficult to adapt to swallowing and communicating. There is help available on how to look after your Tracheostomy and how to keep your Tracheostomy clean.