Why the Procedure is Performed

A tracheostomy may be done if you have:

  • A large object blocking the airway
  • An inability to breathe on your own
  • An inherited abnormality of the larynx or trachea
  • Breathed in harmful material such as smoke, steam, or other toxic gases that swell and block the airway
  • Cancer of the neck, which can affect breathing by pressing on the airway
  • Paralysis of the muscles that affect swallowing
  • Severe neck or mouth injuries

If the tracheostomy is temporary, the tube will eventually be removed. Healing will occur quickly, leaving a minimal scar. Sometimes, a surgical procedure may be needed to close the site (stoma). Occasionally a stricture or tightening of the trachea may develop, which may affect breathing. If the tracheostomy tube is permanent, the hole remains open.