What is a tracheostomy?

The basics of a tracheostomy

A tracheotomy is a procedure which consists of creating an opening in the neck for direct access to the windpipe (trachea).

What is a Tracheostomy?

The basics to get started

A tracheotomy is a procedure which consists of creating an opening in the neck for direct access to the windpipe (trachea). The opening is called a tracheostomy or sometimes a tracheostoma. There are many potential reasons for the purpose of a tracheostomy, including easier breathing and secretion management. A tracheostomy can be either temporary, 2-4 weeks, or more long-term, months – years, or in some cases permanent, depending on the needs and reason for having it.


• Has an obstruction in their upper airway (nose, mouth or throat).
• Has difficulty swallowing.
• Has trouble breathing due to injury, swelling or lung conditions.
• Undergoes airway reconstruction following surgery on their larynx (voice box) or pharynx (throat).
• Needs mechanical ventilation (breathing machine).

A tracheostomy tube is inserted into the tracheostoma to keep it open. As a result of the tracheostomy, you will breathe through a tracheostomy tube while breathing through your nose and mouth will either be reduced or completely bypassed.


Lung health

Impact on lung health

Breathing through a tracheostoma means breathing in dry, cold and unfiltered air. This will irritate the lining of the airways and lungs, and may result in more coughing, mucus production, and a greater risk for infection.

Using a Heat & Moisture Exchanger (HME) humidifies and moisturizes the air you inhale, and so may help with the function of both your airways and lungs.

Lung health

Speaking with a tracheostomy

Impact on speech

Since exhaled air will no longer move through your vocal cords your voice will be affected. The type of tracheostomy tube you have, as well as the reason for your tracheostomy, will dictate how speaking will be affected. Some people may be able to speak after a tracheostomy using equipment and others may not; however, there are options available to help you communicate again – your healthcare professional will work with you to find the best option for you.


Closing the tracheostoma

If the tracheostomy is no longer necessary, the healthcare provider can remove the tracheostomy tube. The hole often closes on its own. But if it doesn’t, a surgeon will close it up.


Respiratory conditions

Tracheostomized children have a high risk of respiratory infections. This is due to the naturally protective oral and nasal passages being bypassed, allowing microorganisms into the lower airways more easily.

Learn more about pediatrics

Meet our community

Users share their stories about living with a neck stoma

Freevent XtraCare brochure

Combining an HME with a filter, provides you more than humidification

Freevent XtraCare combines an HME with a highly effective electrostatic filter, and provides protection against airborne particles, including viruses and bacteria, with a filtration efficiency of more than 99%*.

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Help & services

Don't know where to start?

Contact us for more support, information and help.

Tracheostomy Products

Products for your need

We provide different products for different situations. Learn more about Freevent XtraCare for good humidification and effective filtration. Or Freevent DualCare where a speaking valve is combined with the benefits of an HME

For tracheostomized children we have Freevent XtraCare Mini that provides effective filtration along with good humidification for daily protection.


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