Gastrostomy: Permanent and Temporary
- Endoscopic procedure: a more common and less invasive procedure called percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG)
- Open procedure: a incision is made in the abdomen
Reasons for Procedure
- Feed a person who has a hard time sucking or swallowing or is otherwise unable to eat
- Drain the stomach of acid and fluids that have built up
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- Aspiration—accidental sucking into the airways of fluid, food, or any foreign material
- Damage to other organs
- Anesthesia-related problems
- Skin irritation around the tube
- Dislodging or malfunction of the tube
- Obesity or diabetes
- Smoking, alcohol abuse, or drug use
- Use of certain prescription medications
- Prior abdominal surgeries
- Increased age
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
- Medical history
- Review of medications
- Physical exam
- Assessment of swallowing ability
- Blood and urine tests
- X-rays of the abdomen
- Endoscopic examination of stomach—An endoscope is a long tube with a camera at the end that can be put down the throat into the stomach.
Talk to your doctor about your medications. You may be asked to stop taking some medications up to one week before the procedure, like:
- Anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen or naproxen
- Blood thinners
- Anti-platelet medications
- Avoid food or fluids after midnight before surgery.
- Arrange for a ride to and from the hospital.
Description of the Procedure
Immediately After Procedure
How Long Will It Take?
How Much Will It Hurt?
Average Hospital Stay
- Depending on your condition, you may need to get nutrition through an IV for the first day or two after the tube placement or until your intestine is working normally. You will then be started on clear liquids. You will gradually move to thicker liquids.
- Keep the tube insertion site clean and dry.
- Wash your hands before touching the area.
- Ask your doctor about when it is safe to shower, bathe, or soak in water.
- If antibiotics are ordered, take all of the medication. Do not stop, even if you feel healthy.
- Learn how to administer tube feedings. Also, learn how to flush out your tube. This will decrease the risk of blockages.
- Learn what to do if you have a serious complication such as a dislodged tube or aspiration.
- Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions.
Call Your Doctor
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge from the incision site around the tube
- Problems with the tube, including if it becomes dislodged, clogged, or malfunctions; dislodging is most common during the first two weeks that the tube is in place
- Leaking of feedings around the site of the tube
- Cough, shortness of breath, chest pain
- Nausea, vomiting, constipation, or abdominal swelling
- Inability to pass gas or have a bowel movement
- Severe abdominal pain
American College of Gastroenterology http://gi.org
American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy http://www.asge.org
The Canadian Association of Gastroenterology http://www.cag-acg.org
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Central venous access catheters (CVAC) and gastrostomy (feeding) tubes. Society of Interventional Radiology website. Available at: http://www.sirweb.org/patients/gastrostomy/. Accessed December 6, 2013.
Gastrostomy tube (g-tube). Nemours' KidsHealth website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/system/surgery/g%5Ftube.html. Updated March 2013. Accessed December 6, 2013.
Gastrostomy tube (g-tube) home care. Cincinnati Children's website. ;Available at: http://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/health/g/g-tube-care/. Updated June 2012. Accessed December 6, 2013.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 12/2013 -
- Update Date: 12/06/2013 -