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What To Expect During a Tracheostomy

To create a tracheostomy, your surgeon will make a cut through the lower front part of your neck. He or she will then make a cut in your trachea, or windpipe.

The surgeon will place a tube (called a trach tube) through the hole and into the windpipe. The tube will help keep the hole open. Some trach tubes are “cuffed.” Doctors can widen or narrow cuffed tubes by inflating or deflating them with air.

You may have a chest x ray to ensure the trach tube is placed correctly. The tube will then be held in place with stitches, surgical tape, or a Velcro band.

The procedure to make a tracheostomy usually takes between 20 and 45 minutes.

Tracheostomy

The picture shows one example of how beta thalassemia is inherited. A child inherits two beta globin genes-one from each parent. In this example, each parent has one altered beta globin gene. Each child has a 25 percent chance of inheriting two normal genes (no anemia), a 50 percent chance of inheriting one altered gene and one normal gene (beta thalassemia trait), or a 25 percent chance of inheriting two altered genes (beta thalassemia major).

Figure A shows a side view of the neck and the correct placement of a trach tube in the trachea, or windpipe. Figure B shows an external view of a patient who has a tracheostomy.

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March 19, 2012