Top of the page
A tracheostomy is a surgical opening through the neck into the windpipe (trachea). The opening is also called a stoma. A tracheostomy helps you breathe if you have a lung or nerve problem, an infection, or trouble handling secretions.
A tracheostomy is a permanent opening through the neck into the windpipe, or trachea. This opening makes breathing easier if you have a lung or nerve problem or an infection that makes it hard to breathe.
Taking good care of a tracheostomy is very important. It can prevent infections and help keep you breathing easily.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Your doctor or nurse will give you instructions about how to take care of your tracheostomy (trach). This will include how to suction your trach, how to clean the opening in your neck (stoma), and how to clean and replace the trach'sinner tube (inner cannula). Be sure to follow all of these instructions closely.
Always have suction supplies ready, including a fully charged suction machine. Suction the trach 3 to 4 times a day, or more if needed. For example, two of the times could be before you go to bed and when you wake up in the morning. You will need suction catheters, a suction machine, saline fluid, a small cup, and a mirror. Here are the steps to take:
The opening in your neck is called a stoma. To care for your stoma, clean and dry it 3 times a day. Do not let crust form on the skin at the stoma. You will need hydrogen peroxide, tap or sterile water, 8 or 10 cotton swabs, 2 small cups, a dry cloth, a mirror, and ointment for the skin. Follow these steps:
A cannula is the tube that fits into the stoma. Clean and replace the inner cannula 2 or 3 times each day. You will need 2 small bowls, a small brush, hydrogen peroxide, water, and a mirror. To clean the inner cannula:
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if you have any problems.
Current as of: July 29, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Elizabeth T. Russo MD - Internal Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
©2006-2020 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.