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The Simplicity of the Scalpel

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This space is organized from rapid review to deep dive, and getting started is as simple as scrolling down. Use the links below to go directly to content👇

Rapid ReviewFull Video
FONA PearlsCadaveric Demo
Guided PracticeCurated FOAMed

Instead of declaring a failed airway in a can’t intubate and can’t oxygenate situation, what if we just said, it’s time to move to our simplified airway plan, because that’s what the emergency surgical airway is, simple.”

Rapid Review

Real time too slow for you? Just need a quick refresher? Get the essentials of this procedure in 43 seconds flat. Then dive deeper into the content below to complete your training.

Scalpel Finger Bougie Explained

Watch the full video of the procedure here. Simple and effective this technique is everything you need and nothing you don’t. Then dive into some clinical pearls and hands on opportunities below.

Cadaveric Demonstrations

Sometimes it’s just better on a real cadaveric model. Here are a couple of great examples of this technique by AIME Airway in their anatomy lab. Watch these for an extra review before heading to the hands on training experience.

Clinical Pearl

In the heat of the moment this simple but important maneuver is often overlooked. Don’t forget to do it!

Clinical Pearl

There’s a lot of anxiety around what to do once you’ve made the incision. Should the scalpel stay in, do I need a tracheal hook? Really, it’s okay, just stick your finger in that hole!!


  1. Look for this tabletop card
  2. Snap the QR code
  3. Begin your practice

If you’re in one of our pop-up learning spaces or a PAC Live!! event, find this care and, use the multimedia tools for a guided practice training experience.

Don’t forget to engage our faculty coaches for real-time expert feedback.

curated FOAMED

We curate some of the best FOAMed resources so you can dive deeper into this topic and also build your learning network. Follow some of these great educators for great learning. We do!!

A FONA captured in the wild

This video generated a lot of discussion in the FOAM universe. Whatever your perspective is, we include it as an opportunity to experience and watch a rarely captured event and the clinical pearls that go with it,

the simplicity of fona – ideal under pressure

This video of a surgical airway performed in Afghanistan is here as a great reminder that it’s not the technical aspects of eFONA that are difficult. That simplicity rules. Notice how simple their technique is (they don’t even use bougie!) Then pay attention to all of the logistics, teamwork, and stress related obstacles they successfully overcome to make the cut and save a life.

FOAMEd FONA in Afghanistan – Youtube
The Debrief: Why was this surgical airway successful?
  • The team made a quick decision, and didn’t waste time trying other techniques likely to fail.
  • Team approach: supported by team members that this was the right decision (do it dude!).
  • Nothing fancy, the procedure was paired down to the essentials and performed in seconds.
  • Logistics: team members knew how to find everything and negotiate their environment.
Next Steps

Congratulations! You are well on your way towards cultivating a Fearless FONA Mindset. To take the next step, visit any of the related posters in this series, or go to the online space below.

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