Gastrostomy: Permanent and Temporary
- Endoscopic procedure: a more common and less invasive procedure called percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG)
- Open procedure: a long incision is made in the abdomen
Reasons for Procedure
- Feed a person who has a hard time sucking or swallowing
- 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
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
- Medical history
- Review of medicines
- 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 medicines. You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to one week before the procedure, like:
- Aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs
- Blood thinners, such as clopidogrel (Plavix) or warfarin (Coumadin)
- Eat a light meal the night before the surgery. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
- 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 IV fluids 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 pills. 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, 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
The 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
American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy website. Available at: http://www.asge.org. Accessed September 4, 2009.
Cecil RL, Goldman L, et al. Cecil Textbook of Medicine. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders Company; 2000.
Sleisenger M, Fordtran J, et al. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders Co; 1998.
- Reviewer: Daus Mahnke, MD
- Review Date: 11/2012
- Update Date: 11/26/2012