Tracheotomy is a type of surgery used to make an opening in the neck that a person can breathe through. The opening is called a tracheostomy.

During tracheotomy, a surgical cut (incision) is made in the front of the neck over the windpipe, or trachea. The trachea is the main breathing tube leading to the lungs. The incision is made below the vocal cords. A rigid plastic or metal tube is inserted to keep the incision open. The tube is usually connected to a machine called a ventilator that helps the person breathe. However, a ventilator is not always needed.

Last Updated: January 21, 2010

Author: Debby Golonka, MPH

Medical Review: John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Donald R. Mintz, MD - Otolaryngology

related physicians

related services

Bon Secours International| Sisters of Bon Secours USA| Bon Secours Health System

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Privacy Policy. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2010 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.