Gastrostomy Feeding Tube Insertion

A gastrostomy feeding tube insertion is the placement of a feeding tube through the skin and the stomach wall, directly into the stomach.
Description:
Gastrostomy feeding tube insertion is often done through the mouth, by a procedure called endoscopy. Local numbing medicines and intravenous sleep medicines are used. This procedure can also be done surgically. While the patient is in deep sleep and pain-free (general anesthesia), a small cut is made on the left side of the stomach area. A small, flexible, hollow tube with a balloon or special tip is inserted into the stomach. The stomach is stitched closed around the tube and the cut is closed.
Indications:
Gastrostomy feeding tubes are put in for different reasons. They may be needed temporarily or permanently. Gastrostomy feeding tube insertion may be recommended for:
  • Babies with birth abnormalities of the mouth, esophagus, or stomach (for example, esophageal atresia or tracheal esophageal fistula)
  • Patients who cannot swallow correctly
  • Patients who cannot take enough food by mouth to stay healthy
  • Patients who often breath in food when eating

Expectations after surgery:
This is a mostly simple surgery with a good outlook.
Convalescence:
The stomach and abdomen will heal in 5 to 7 days. Moderate pain can be treated with medications. Feedings will start slowly with clear liquids, and increase slowly.
The patient/family will be taught:

  • How to care for the skin around the tube
  • Signs and symptoms of infection
  • What to do if the tube is pulled out
  • Signs and symptoms of tube blockage
  • How to empty the stomach through the tube
  • How and what to feed through the tube
  • How to hide the tube under clothing
  • What normal activities can be continued
 
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