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To the Editor: This is either to clear the air or at least to initiate some thinking and discussion concerning the improper usage of certain nomenclature, namely, the indiscriminate use of the words tracheotomy and tracheostomy (even by the otolaryngologist).
Tracheotomy is the name of an operation which results in an opening or tract between the skin of the neck and the trachea. There is no cutaneous-mucosal connection.
I am unable to find a word which indicates the result of the tracheotomy operation. Tracheotomy tract or tracheotomy orifice are sometimes used.
Tracheostomy is the name of an operation which results in a transected or opened trachea sutured to the skin of the anterior neck. There is a cutaneous-mucosal connection.
Tracheostoma is the word used to designate the opening resulting from the tracheostomy operation.
If we in otolaryngology use these terms correctly we will be two up on the general surgeon,
MONTGOMERY WW. MISUSE OF MEDICAL NOMENCLATURE. Arch Otolaryngol. 1965;81(4):437. doi:10.1001/archotol.1965.00750050448028
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