Components of a tracheostomy tube

An ideal tracheostomy tube is one that is comfortable to the patient, helps maintain a patent airway and minimises any risk of tissue damage. There are many components to a tracheostomy tube which play an important role in maintaining the patient’s artificial airway.


The flange is the main outer structure of the tube that is secured to the patient to reduce the risk of the tracheostomy falling out. The size of the tracheostomy tube can be located on the flange, which will guide what equipment you should use to care for your patient.

Outer tube

The outer tube is the main body of the tube and helps keep the airway patent.

Inner tube

The inner tube is a removable tube which can be taken out of the patient, cleaned and replaced to reduce the risk of the tracheostomy becoming blocked. The inner tube is a universal fit connection (15mm) which is compatible with emergency airway equipment.


The cuff, if present, can be inflated to secure the tube in place, prevent aspiration and deliver positive pressure ventilation. The pressure of the cuff can be checked with a cuff manometer to ensure it is not over or under inflated.

Pilot balloon

The pilot balloon is an external balloon which is connected via an inflation line to the inside of the tracheostomy.

Subglottic suction port

The subglottic suction port above the tracheostomy cuff that can be used to aspirate secretions that may accumulate above the cuff and increase the risk of infection.

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© Institute of Clinical Science and Technology (ICST) 2020