Tracheostomy in maxillofacial surgery: A simple and safe technique for residents in training

Attilio Carlo Salgarelli, Marco Collini, Pierantonio Bellini, Paolo Capparè

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Tracheostomy is a frequently performed surgical procedure and may be required under emergency, semiurgent, or elective conditions. In maxillofacial surgery, it is indicated in congenital, inflammatory, oncologic, or traumatic respiratory obstruction and prolonged intubation. This article presents a simplified tracheostomy procedure based on anatomic markers that gives the best compromise between minimum invasiveness and safety. Patients and Methods: A retrospective study analyzed the clinical aspects, treatment methods, and clinical course of 198 patients who underwent tracheostomies performed by residents in training under the supervision of surgeons between October 2002 and December 2007 at the Maxillofacial Surgery Department of Carlo Poma Hospital, Mantova, and the Maxillofacial Unit, Head and Neck Department, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy. Tracheostomies were performed in 127 patients (64.14%) with neoplastic diseases (tumors of the tongue base, tonsils, and oral and pharyngeal regions) and in 71 patients with trauma (35.86%). The patients were followed up for 3 to 65 months. Results: Acceptable clinical healing and outcomes were obtained in all patients. Intraoperative complications occurred in 35 patients (17.7%): bleeding in 32 patients (16.2%) and pretracheal or paratracheal tube placement in 3 patients (1.51%). Postoperative complications after tracheostomy closure included tracheostomy dehiscence in 5 patients (2.52%) and subcutaneous emphysema in 26 patients (13.12%). Tracheostomy dehiscence occurred in 3 patients with neoplasia (1.51%) and in 2 patients with trauma (1.01%). No symptomatic tracheal stenosis developed. Conclusions: The standardized surgical technique presented here reduces the associated surgical risk when the correct anatomic markers are used and important structures are recognized and handled correctly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-246
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Craniofacial Surgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011


  • head and neck cancer
  • Maxillofacial surgery
  • tracheostomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Surgery


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