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Lot 75: A tracheotomy operation

Christie's

December 13, 2001
London, United Kingdom

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Description

The trachea is opened above the thyroid gland; the head is bent back and an incision of 3-4 cm. is made exactly in the center of the trachea. Once the cellular tissue has been severed, the edges of the wound and the neighboring muscles are pulled apart with blunt retractor hooks. As soon as the trachea (1) has been exposed, it is necessary to set it firmly in place. While pulling the trachea upwards with the hook and holding it in place, the surgeon inserts a scalpel in the groove of the hook, about 1cm. into the trachea, and splits the posterior layer of skin until it is fully exposed. He has to take great care not to penetrate the pushed-back cellular tissue, let alone the thyroid gland (2), since this would cause severe bleeding, and blood could spill over into the trachea. Hence the assistant pushes the thyroid back with a Tyrell hook. The incision in the trachea is expanded by opening the double hook, and a double cannula like the one displayed is immediately inserted and kept in place by a bandage wrapped around the neck.

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