A tracheostomy is a surgical hole made at the front of the neck into the trachea or windpipe. A surgeon will create this hole when the airway is blocked or damaged, preventing air from reaching the lungs. After making the hole, the surgeon places a tracheal tube that allows air into the lungs via this new avenue. Tracheostomies may be temporary during an emergency, or permanent when a condition prevents a patient from breathing through their nose or mouth.
According to Wikipedia, there is evidence of tracheostomies as far back as 3600 B.C. Since then, with advancements in the knowledge of human anatomy, there have been several improvements to the procedure, with the current tracheostomy procedure introduced in the early 1900s. While they had been historically performed on patients with a variety of health concerns, including treatment for diphtheria, tracheostomies are now only performed in certain circumstances.
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