Help with mucous

What is a Mini-trach?

Breathing exercises and physio usually do a great job at keeping your lungs clear of mucus. Sometimes people need extra help prevent a build-up of mucus in the lungs. Mucus increases the risk of a chest infection if left in the lung. If a chest infection has started, clearing the mucus helps you recover.

A mini-trach (mini track) is a short, thin tube put in the front of the neck into the windpipe and held in position with soft collar. Your nurse can then pass a thin suction tube into the windpipe and remove mucus. The suction tube also makes you cough and clear the mucus. Small amounts of oxygen can be given through the tube. When the tube is not being used a small cap is used to cover the end of the tube.

Can I talk and eat with a mini-trach?
Yes, you can talk and eat as you would normally be able to.
When is it put in?
The mini-trach can be put in whilst you are asleep in theatre if your surgeon thinks mucus will be a problem. This will be discussed with you before surgery. They can also be put in on the ward using local anaesthetic to numb part of the neck. This is usually if you are unwell.
When is it removed?
As soon as the volume of mucus reduces and you can cough well the mini-trach is removed. You will not go home with a mini-trach. After removal the wound is dressed and will heal without needing stitches.
What are the risks of a mini-trach?
If you require a mini-trach the benefits far outweigh the risks. It may be life saving.

Some bleeding is expected after insertion. If the bleeding doesn’t settle you may need to go in to theatre for the bleeding to be stopped.

There will be a small scar on the front of the neck.

There is a small risk of a tear in the food pipe, change in voice, the tube becoming dislodged or temporary neck swelling.