Tracheostomy Sleep Apnea Surgery
Tracheostomy is a conventional form of sleep apnea surgery that is only performed today as a last option for patients who have found that nothing else helps them and/or if their sleep apnea is serious enough to be considered life threatening.
Although this sleep apnea surgery has a high success rate, it involves an incision in the throat that is roughly the size of a quarter inch.
And can give rise to any number of other health problems, some medical in nature while others are psychological.
A tracheostomy is a very straightforward type of operation. Essentially put, “the surgeon makes an opening through the neck into the windpipe and inserts a tube.” The opening, which is a permanent one coupled with the tube allows for the easy flow of air in and out of the windpipe (or trachea).
The tracheostomy tube permits air to flow in and out of the patient’s lungs and eliminates sleep apnea episodes. During the daytime hours a valve allows the tube to remain shut making it possible for the person to both breathe and talk as naturally as possible.
At night when the person is sleeping the valve is wide opening allowing for air to flow into the throat but bypass the blockage and then find its way into the lungs.
Not everyone who undergoes a tracheostomy needs the same amount of time to get well. In other words some people need more time than others. When sleep apnea is brought about by the upper airway being blocked, a tracheostomy almost always is a successful sleep apnea surgery.
However keep in mind that this form of sleep apnea surgery is a kind of treatment that is often undertaken after all else has failed to work.
Risks Associated With Tracheostomy
There are a number of risks associated with having a tracheostomy.
- First of all scar tissue sometimes forms where the hole is made in the throat and this can make a difference in the appearance of the neck.
- Sometimes a patient who has a tracheostomy has a chance of developing an infection at the sight of the operation (symptoms include swelling, redness and drainage of fluid) and bleeding is often a complication.
- Some patients have problems with their speech, some immediately following the surgery but find it improves with healing while others notice a permanent alteration in speech patterns.
- There is also a greater chance that a variety of lung infections will develop in patients who undergo a tracheostomy.
- Finally psychological and emotional problems such as depression and a lack of self-esteem can evolve as a result of this surgery.
Some people are very self-conscious about their appearance after having a tracheostomy as it is more obvious in some people than it is in others. People who are overweight or obese often suffer more long-term consequences due to fatty tissue on the neck that can block the hole in the throat.
It is significant to be impeccable with your hygiene habits after having a tracheostomy as keeping the area of the neck where the tube was inserted clean and free of debris is very significant.