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December 18, 2014

How a Tracheostomy Hole Heals Closed (Time Lapse Photos)

When a patient undergoes a tracheostomy, it is not a permanent thing. Once a patient is healthy enough, the tracheostomy tube can be removed and the existing hole in the throat will spontaneously start to heal closed.

In a process called healing by secondary intention, the body creates granulation tissue along with scarring that slowly but surely closes the trach opening shut. In the rare situation it does not completely close, a surgical procedure can be performed.

Here are some pictures showing a tracheostomy hole becoming smaller each day after the tube was removed. The first picture is day 0 followed by day 1, day 2, etc. All photos were taken on the same patient.

Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids. He is also the chief medical officer of O2Labz, a medical and scientific 3D animation company.Google+ Christopher Chang, MD Bio


  1. I prefer Z plasty, quick and easy. What do you think?

  2. My husband tracheostomy wound still has not healed up properly after 5 months! No operation has been offered. Continually having an infection in it although has been covered all this time. Why is this?

  3. You should have kept it uncovered after the first few days just trapped bugs in it.

  4. My mother had her trach removed last year but the hole is still open and she has secretion come through the hole when she has a cold/cough. What is the best option to close it permanently without obstructing her breathing or cough?

    1. I found stoma closure surgery on the net.

  5. Is it safe for a patient that had a trach,to smoke when released from the hospital ?

    My brother was hit by an automobile and subsequently ended up in a coma,.
    He had a traumatic brain injury,had a teach,etc
    He has since made great progress,but still walks with a limp.

    One day my sister discovered him smoking a half of a cigarette.

    Is it safe for him to do so


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