Nutritional Access (Gastrostomy Tubes / Jejunostomy Tubes)

What is a gastrostomy tube?

A gastrostomy tube is a surgical tubing providing access between the inside of the stomach to the outside world. They can be used for providing a route for feeding/caloric intake when unable to take it by mouth, for medications, or for decompression when the bowel is blocked distally.

What is a PEG tube? What is a laparoscopic Gtube?

A PEG tube (which stands for Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy tube) is a type of gastrostomy tube that is placed by using an endoscope (similar to a colonoscopy endoscope but designed for the upper GI tract). When the mouth or throat cannot be used to access the stomach (often due to surgery on the head or neck or because other abdominal organs are in the way), a laparoscopic or minimally invasive approach is used. In this case, two small incisions are used to help look into the abdomen, bring the stomach to the abdominal wall, and place a feeding tube into the stomach.

How long is the surgery?

A PEG tube takes about 15 minutes of procedure time. A laparoscopic Gtube takes 30 minutes. These estimates do not include preoperative or postoperative time at the hospital or surgical center.

How do I take care of a Gtube?

A few tips include a) flushing it daily with water to prevent clogging, b) wash hands before and after use, c) use a clean wash cloth and mild soap with water to clean once daily, d) pay attention to the distance number of the top of the external bumper (usually around 3.5-4 cm) and make sure the tube is not too tight and causing redness or irritation to the underlying skin.

When can I have the Gtube taken out?

For all NEW Gtubes, they must stay in place for at least 4-6 weeks to heal onto the abdominal wall – no exceptions. After that, once the Gtube is no longer needed for it’s original purpose, it can be removed. PEG tubes require some strong traction to be removed at the bedside (no special procedure required). Laparoscopic Gtubes have a balloon that can be emptied from the outside and easily then easily removed.

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