Placement of a tracheostomy tube is a simple procedure and can be a lifesaving intervention. However, the presence of a tube within the trachea that allows air to bypass the glottis and nasal cavity changes respiratory tract function and this needs to be addressed and managed accordingly. Patients require constant monitoring while the tube is in place ‐ complications are common and may lead to death if they are unrecognised and untreated. This article describes the indications and surgical technique for tracheostomy tube placement, and discusses the postoperative management of the tube and the patient. It also highlights the potential complications that might arise and outlines how these may be avoided.
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