Tracheotomies have been used by doctors for over a hundred years for patients that have trouble breathing normally, have blocked airways or to remove fluid from the lungs. There are four major pieces of this vital plastic medical device:
- the tracheostomy (trach) tube itself
- the outer cannula
- the inner cannula
- the obturator
The fact that all of them are made of plastic speak volumes about the versatility of plastic resin; it’s hard to conceive of them being made from metal, for example. The smooth curved surfaces would be difficult to recreate with any other material.
Tracheostomy tubes, which are made by several plastic medical device manufacturers, vary in certain features because their use is medically indicated for varying conditions. However, all tracheostomy tubes will be the same in some respects no matter which company makes them.
As noted above, a typical tracheostomy tube consists of three parts: outer cannula with flange (neck plate), inner cannula, and an obturator. The outer cannula is the outer tube that holds the tracheostomy open. A neck plate extends from the sides of the outer tube and has holes to attach strings or a velcro strap around the neck. The inner cannula, which has a lock to keep it from being coughed out, fits snugly inside the outer cannula. On a periodic basis, the inner cannula is removed for cleaning of sputum and other bodily fluids from the lungs which can contaminate it.
The obturator is used to insert a tracheostomy tube. It fits inside the tube to give a smooth surface that guides the tracheostomy tube when it is being inserted.
AdvanTech Plastics is proud to produce plastic obturators that keep people alive when their lungs aren’t functioning as they should for whatever reason. Obturators are just one of many plastic medical parts AdvanTech manufactures which serve a vital role in today’s increasingly complex medical parts market.