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Updated April 16, 2009

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Definition: A tracheostomy is a procedure that creates an opening through the neck into the airway through which a tube is placed. The tube, called a tracheostomy tube, allows air to flow into the lungs and allows the airways to be suctioned.

In preemies, tracheostomies are usually performed when premature babies cannot breathe on their own for long periods of time. Tracheostomies allow patients to be mechanically ventilated without a tube in their mouth or nose, and allow mechanical ventilation to stop and start more easily. Tracheostomies may also be performed when babies are born with conditions that make breathing or clearing the airway difficult or impossible.

Also Known As: trach
Doctors decided to perform a tracheostomy so that the baby could go home from the hospital even though she still needed the ventilator at night.
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