Incision through the skin and cricothyroid membrane for relief of respiratory obstruction; used prior to or in place of tracheotomy in certain emergency respiratory obstructions. SEE ALSO: coniotomy. SYN: cricothyroidotomy, inferior laryngotomy, intercricothyrotomy. [cricoid + thyroid + G. tome, incision]

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cri·co·thy·rot·o·my -'rät-ə-mē n, pl -mies tracheotomy by incision through the skin and cricothyroid membrane esp. as an emergency procedure for relief of an obstructed airway

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cri·co·thy·rot·o·my (kri″ko-thi-rotґə-me) tracheotomy involving incision through the skin and cricothyroid membrane to secure a patent airway for emergency relief of upper airway obstruction. Called also inferior laryngotomy, intercricothyrotomy, and thyrocricotomy.

Cricothyrotomy. After immobilization of the larynx and creation of a vertical midline skin incision, the cricothyroid membrane is incised horizontally (A). Upward traction is made with a traction hook and a bladed dilator is used to expand the tracheal incision vertically (B). The tube is inserted through the blades of the dilator into the trachea (C). The obturator is removed, the inner cannula is replaced, and the tube is inflated (D).

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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