Skip to Content
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.
The time needed for the opening in the neck to heal
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.
Tracheostomy almost always cures sleep apnea that is caused by
blockage of the upper airway.footnote 1
Risks that may occur with a tracheostomy
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.
Complete the surgery information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this surgery.
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.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerAnne C. Poinier, MD - Internal MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerMark A. Rasmus, MD - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Sleep Medicine
Current as ofMay 23, 2016
Current as of:
May 23, 2016
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Mark A. Rasmus, MD - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Sleep Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
© Copyright 2017 Rush Copley Medical Center • 2000 Ogden Avenue; Aurora, IL 60504
Main: 630-978-6200 • Physician Referral & Information: 630-978-6700 or 866-4COPLEY (866-426-7539)