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.
The time needed for the opening of the tracheostomy to heal
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
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.
Complete the surgery information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this surgery.
CitationsAurora RN, et al. (2010). Practice parameters for the surgical modifications of the upper airway for obstructive sleep apnea in adults. Sleep, 33(10): 1408–1413.
June 17, 2011
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Mark A. Rasmus, MD - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Sleep Medicine
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