A gastrostomy tube (G-tube) is a tube that is placed directly into the stomach through the abdominal wall in order to give feedings or to let the stomach rid of excess gas. Placement of this tube may be necessary for several reasons. For example, you may need a G-tube if:
- You have difficulty with swallowing or are unable to swallow.
- You are unable to eat enough to help you grow.
- You have had a fundoplication procedure (see “Nissen Fundoplication” section), and your stomach now needs to get rid of excess gas.
What will the procedure involve?
You will be given medicine that will help you go to sleep. The doctor will then make a small cut in your stomach to place the tube inside.
Before and after the procedure
During the week prior to the procedure you will need to take acetaminophen instead of aspirin or ibuprofen in order to decrease the chances of increased bleeding during the procedure. You should not have anything to eat or drink after midnight the evening before your procedure.
Following the procedure, you will be taken to a hospital recovery room and may stay in the hospital for 1-3 days. You and your parents will learn how to use and care for the tube, and it can be used within 12 –24 hours after the procedure. The formula may be placed into the tube using a syringe or by a pump machine. The pump may be connected to the tube all the time so the formula goes into your stomach little by little. The pump may also be used at night so you can be fed while you are sleeping. The tube will need to be replaced after approximately 6 months, and the procedure is a basic outpatient procedure. Follow your doctor’s orders and be sure to come back into the office for a check-up.
When to call the doctor
Have your parents contact the doctor if:
- The tube comes out
- The tube gets blocked or clogged
- You have a lot of drainage around the tube
- You have pain with feedings
- You have nausea or vomiting after feedings
- You are unable to take food through the tube
The G-tube typically will only need to be changed if you outgrow it or if it does not work correctly. You will not need to go to the hospital or to have anesthesia to have the tube changed. Instead, simply go to the doctor’s office to have it changed and then you will be free to leave.
For further information about tube feeding, please see the Nutritional Support information of the website.
For information concerning specific companies that manufacture G-tubes: