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Advantages and Disadvantages of Tracheotomy

A tracheostomy is a surgical opening (a tubular airway) into the trachea (the windpipe, found in the lower front part of the throat) into which a light metal tracheostomy tube is inserted. It is acknowledged an invasive method.

A small suction tube can be placed into the opening to suck secretions, or a mechanical ventilator can be fixed to the tube. Speaking and eating can still continue with effort. A tracheostomy does not reinstate the potential to swallow or speak. A tracheostomy speaking tool, like the Passy-Muir valve, may reinstate the potential to speak and swallow.

Advantages of Tracheostomy

There are several benefits of undergoing tracheostomy process, a few of them may include:

  • Safety from laryngeal wound  resultant of a translaryngeal tube

  • Care is easier, particularly in terms of suctioning

  • Diminished airway resistance, and hence reduced effort of breathing, which may lead to early extubation

  • A more safe airway

  • Enabling the patient to speak in turn enhancing the patient's comfort

  • Allowing the patient to eat

  • Betterment in the patient's psychological state

Disadvantage of Tracheostomy

It’s common that every invasive medical process brings some kind of disadvantages and side effect along and tracheostomy is not exception to this fact. Some disadvantages of tracheostomy may include:

  • For some people it is too invasive, intensifies their disability and dependence.

  • Secretions need frequent suctioning, at night as well as in the day.

  • Coughing to clear the airways is tough.

  • The tracheostomy site, stoma, may get infection, may bleed, or can also develop inflammatory granulations need removal.

  • Living with tracheostomy requires some aptitude and makes life and care more difficult.

  • Some people feel difficulty with speech and swallowing.

Side Effects of Tracheostomy

There are a few immediate risks linked with tracheotomies. Severe bleeding is one of the possible side effects. The voice box or esophagus can also get damaged during the surgery. There is also a possibility of getting air trapped in the surrounding tissues. Often lung may also collapse. Blood clots, mucus, or the pressure of the airway walls may block the tracheotomy.

Long-term Side Effects of Tracheostomy

Over time, other side effects may take shape following a tracheotomy. The windpipe can get damaged for several reasons, like pressure from the tube, infectious bacteria or friction from a tube as it moves too much. Often the opening does not shut simultaneously once the tube is taken off. This risk is greater in tracheotomies when tubes stay in place for 16 weeks or even longer. Under such circumstances, the wound gets surgically ceased. More secretions may be witnessed in patients with tracheostomies, which call for more frequent suctioning.

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