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To the Editor.—In reply to Dr. Curran, according to Stedman's 20th edition, the term "tracheotomy" is defined as "the operation of opening into the trachea"; and the term, "tracheostomy" is "information of an opening into the trachea." Thus, "tracheotomy" is the technical procedure itself whereas "tracheostomy" is the opening that is left by the procedure—the end result, as it were. Unfortunately, the two terms are used almost interchangeably. Until a few years ago the term "tracheostomy" was very seldom used. Now its seems to carry with it a sort of status symbol. Ask your surgical friends if they are going to do a gastrotomy on the next patient they have to operate for an inoperable esophageal carcinoma. They invariably use the term "gastrostomy" for either connotation.
HOLINGER PH. TERMINOLOGY-Reply. Arch Otolaryngol. 1968;87(5):569. doi:10.1001/archotol.1968.00760060571034
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