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Tracheostomy for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Table of Contents

Surgery Overview

Tracheostomy is surgery that is sometimes used to treat obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). In this surgery, the surgeon creates a permanent opening in the neck to the windpipe (trachea). He or she then puts a tube into the opening to let air in.

What To Expect

The time needed for the opening in the neck to heal can vary.

Why It Is Done

A tracheostomy is done only if you have severe sleep apnea, other treatments have failed, and other forms of surgery won't work for you.

How Well It Works

Tracheostomy almost always cures sleep apnea that is caused by blockage of the upper airway.1

Risks

Risks that may occur with a tracheostomy include:

What To Think About

Tracheostomy is not typically used to treat sleep apnea. That's because other treatments work well in most people.

People who are very overweight have more long-term problems after this surgery than other people do. For very overweight people, the surgeon must take greater care during the surgery to keep the opening from being blocked by fatty neck tissues.

Proper care of your tracheostomy is important. Keep the valve closed during the day so that you can talk and breathe. Tell your doctor right away if you notice signs of infection. These signs include redness, swelling, and drainage at the surgery site. Talk with your doctor or surgeon if you have concerns or questions.

References

Citations

  1. Aurora RN, et al. (2010). Practice parameters for the surgical modifications of the upper airway for obstructive sleep apnea in adults. Sleep, 33(10): 1408–1413.

Credits for Tracheostomy for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Current as of: February 24, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Hasmeena Kathuria, MD - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Sleep Medicine


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