A cricothyrotomy is an incision through the skin and cricothyroid membrane to establish a patent airway. A surgical cric is It may be used during certain life-threatening situations such as airway obstruction by a foreign body, angioedema, or massive facial trauma. It is generally performed by making a vertical incision on the skin of the neck just below the laryngeal prominence (Adam’s apple), then making another transverse incision in the cricothyroid membrane which lies deep to this point. The procedure was first described in 1805 by Félix Vicq-d’Azyr, a French surgeon and anatomist
A needle cricothyrotomy is similar, but instead of making a scalpel incision, a large over-the-needle catheter is inserted (12- to 14-gauge). Growing evidence shows that the surgical cric may be easier due to simplicity and the loss of fine motor skills in stressful situations.