A tracheostomy is an opening in the front of the neck which a patient can breathe through. There are various reasons why someone might need a tracheostomy. The commonest reasons are due to a blockage of the normal air passages (nose and mouth or at the back of the throat) or because a patient needs help from a ventilator for more than a few weeks.

This video animation has been developed by Prof David Wald at Barts Health in London and explains what a tracheostomy is and how it is performed.

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