Set of tracheotomy instruments, c 1871-1900.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Made by Down Bros of London. A tracheotomy is a surgical procedure where an incision is made into the trachea (windpipe) and a tube is inserted to enable the patient to breathe. It is normally carried out when the airway above the trachea is damaged or blocked, making unasisted breathing imposible.