Endotracheal intubation is the insertion of a soft rubber or
plastic tube (endotracheal, or ET, tube) through the nose or mouth into the
windpipe (trachea). It is done to deliver oxygen or inhaled anesthetics
into the lungs.
Intubation frequently is used with general anesthesia to help
control breathing during surgery. It also may provide assistance (mechanical
ventilation) to persons who are having difficulty breathing on their own.
Serious complications from endotracheal intubation are rare. Minor problems, such as tooth damage, sore throat, and hoarseness, may occur.
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