Tracheotomy and tracheostomy are surgical procedures on the neck to open a direct airway through an incision in the trachea (the windpipe). It is performed in emergency situations, in the operating room , or at bedside of critically ill patients. This procedure, technically called a cricothyroidotomy, should be undertaken only when a person with a throat obstruction is not able to breathe at all-no gasping sounds, no coughing-and only after you have attempted to perform the Heimlich maneuver three times without dislodging the obstruction.
- Find the person's Adam's apple (thyroid cartilage).
- Move your finger about 1 inch down the neck until you feel another bulge. This is the cricoid cartilage. The indentation between the two is the cricothyroid membrane, where the incision will be made.
- Take the razor blade or knife and make a 1/2 inch horizontal incision. The cut should be about half an inch deep. There should not be too much blood.
- Pinch the incision open or place your finger inside the slit to open it.
- Insert your tube in the incision, roughly one-half to one inch deep.
- Breathe into the tube with two quick breaths. Pause 5 seconds, then give 1 breath every 5 seconds.
- You will see the chest rise and the person should regain consciousness if you have performed the procedure correctly. The person should be able to breathe on their own, albeit with some difficulty, until help arrives.
The term tracheostomy is sometimes used interchangeably with tracheotomy. Strictly speaking, however, tracheostomy usually refers to the opening itself while a tracheotomy is the actual operation.
Tracheotomy Procedure with Animation tutorial