Tracheostomy (trachy)

A “tracheostomy” is the name of the skin opening that surgeons make in the neck going to the windpipe. Some people call it a “trachy”. A “tracheostomy tube” is placed through this opening. It can then be connected to the ventilator. Doctors use the ventilator to maintain the right pressures and oxygen levels in the lungs.

A tracheostomy tube is inserted while a child is under anaesthetic. The goal is to allow children to speak and eat with the tracheostomy tube as their strength improves. Therapists also work with children to help them communicate with white-boards, and iPad tools.

Some children will have their tracheostomy tube removed before they leave hospital. Some children will need it for the longer term. How long the tube is used depends on the child's medical condition. Usually children need to be able to breathe on their own, cough and swallow saliva before it can be removed.

Other types of breathing tubes are inserted into the mouth and the nose.

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