A tracheostomy is sometimes needed if you're unable to breathe normally because of an underlying health condition or a blocked airway.
A tracheostomy can deliver oxygen to the lungs if you cannot breathe normally. This is known as respiratory failure.
Conditions that can lead to respiratory failure and the need for a tracheostomy include:
Sometimes, a tube attached to an artificial breathing machine (ventilator) is inserted into the mouth and down the throat.
But this can be uncomfortable, so a tracheostomy may be carried out if you need help breathing for more than a few days.
A tracheostomy can also be used to bypass an airway that's blocked as a result of:
In addition, some children born with birth defects that cause their airways to be abnormally narrow may need a tracheostomy to help them breathe.
A tracheostomy may be carried out to remove fluid that's built up in the airways.
This may be needed if: