Difference between a cricothyrotomy and a tracheostomy?

What is the difference between a cricothyrotomy and a tracheostomy?
The difference is placement, and circumstances under which they're done.

A cricothyrotomy is usually done in an emergent situation when you are unable to intubate someone and stipulation to get access to someone's airway in a hurry. It's done through the cricothyroid membrane (through your adam's apple). Landmarks are easy to identify, and you avoid the raucous cords and the person's thyroid gland & associated vessels.

A tracheostomy is placed lower down in the trachea, between the tracheal rings. It can be placed in an operating room or at the bedside within an ICU setting, and is much more elegant than a cricothyroidotomy. It is usually placed if someone is going to need the support of a ventillator for a long time (Christopher Reeve had one). This allows the forgiving to talk and not have the extreme discomfort of a tube going down his mouth into his trachea. Source(s): ER Resident

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