Tracheostomy is surgery that 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 in the neck to heal
A tracheostomy is done only if you have
severe sleep apnea, other treatments have failed, and
other forms of surgery won't work for you.
Tracheostomy almost always cures sleep apnea that is caused by
blockage of the upper airway.footnote 1
Risks that may occur with a tracheostomy
Tracheostomy is not typically used to treat sleep apnea. That's because
other treatments work well in most people.
People who are very overweight have more long-term problems after this surgery than other people do. For very overweight
people, the surgeon must take greater care during the surgery 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. Tell your
doctor right away if you notice signs of infection. These signs include redness, swelling, and
drainage at the surgery site. Talk with your doctor or surgeon if you have concerns or questions.
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.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerAnne C. Poinier, MD - Internal MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerHasmeena Kathuria, MD - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Sleep Medicine
Current as ofMarch 25, 2017
Current as of:
March 25, 2017
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Hasmeena Kathuria, MD - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Sleep Medicine
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Last modified on: 8 September 2017