Clinical Focus: Trach Tubes
What is a Tracheostomy?
A tracheostomy is an opening into the trachea (windpipe) surgically created through the neck to allow direct access to a breathing tube. The procedure is commonly done in an operating room under general anesthesia. Tracheostomies are usually performed due to a lack of air getting into the lungs whether it be due to illness or injury. Once the procedure is done a tube has to be placed to keep the incision/stoma open. This device is called a “trach tube,” which Apple Homecare Medical Supply provides for patients of all ages. The tracheostomy tube, or trach tube, is a curved tube that is inserted into a tracheostomy stoma to provide an alternative airway for breathing rather than through the nose or the mouth.
Anatomy of a Trach Tube
There are many different types of trach tubes available, so a doctor must order the tube that best fits a patient’s needs. The frequency of trach tube changes depends on the type of tube, the patient’s insurance, and doctor’s orders.
Most trach tubes are similar in size, but the length and type of material they are made from can vary. A commonly used tracheostomy tube consists of three parts: outer cannula with flange (neck plate), inner cannula, and obturator. The outer cannula is the outer tube that holds the tracheostomy open. The neck plate extends from the sides of the outer cannula and has holes for “trach ties,” which will pass around the neck and hold the trach tube in place. The inner cannula fits inside the outer cannula and has a lock to keep it from being coughed out. It can be removed for routine cleaning. An obturator is used to insert a tracheostomy tube and/or hold the stoma open when the trach is changed out or is dislodged. It fits inside the outer cannula and helps to guide the trach tube into place. The obturator must be removed once the trach tube is placed.
Trach tubes are one of the many things that Apple HMS provides for our patients, from all different sizes, brands and even customized orders. Trachs are needed for many different reasons: to bypass obstructive upper airway, to clean and remove secretions from the airway more easily and safely, and to deliver oxygen to the lungs. Since there are a variety of trach tubes out there to choose from, each style may have certain features for different purposes that fit for different patient needs. Some manufacturers can even make customized trach tubes per a doctor’s order and specifications.