2 Indications and current treatments
2.1 Tracheostomy is commonly carried out for patients in intensive care to maintain their airway, to remove excessive airway secretions and to enable mechanical ventilation to be gradually withdrawn. This may be performed surgically but anaesthetists and intensive care physicians usually perform the procedure using a percutaneous technique, inserting a tube from the outside of the neck into the trachea, using various devices and commonly under endoscopic guidance.
2.2 The translaryngeal tracheostomy technique may lead to lower rates of bleeding, trauma and infection to the tissues surrounding the insertion area, compared with surgical and other percutaneous techniques. It may also avoid the risk of damage to the posterior wall of the trachea and tracheal rings because of a lack of external compression during insertion.