What Is a Feeding Tube?
A feeding tube is
a tube that is inserted into your stomach through your abdomen. It is used to supply
nutrition when you have trouble eating. It is also called percutaneous
endoscopic gastrostomy (PEC), esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD), and G-tube
This treatment is used for people who have trouble eating on
their own. This can be because of a deformity of the mouth or esophagus, or
because the person has trouble swallowing or keeping food down. This is also
for individuals who can eat but aren’t getting enough nutrition or fluids
orally. The feeding tube can also be used to administer medications.
Do I Need to Prepare for the Procedure?
This procedure is performed in a hospital or clinic. Before
you begin, tell your doctor about any medications you are taking, including
blood thinners such as coumadin (Warfarin) or Plavix. You will need to stop
taking aspirin or anti-inflammatory medications one week before the procedure. Your
doctor will also need to know if you have certain conditions such as pregnancy,
diabetes, allergies, or heart and lung conditions. If you have diabetes, your
oral medications or insulin may have to be adjusted the day of the procedure.
performed by using a flexible endoscopic tube with a camera attachment. You may
be given anesthesia to make you more comfortable. This may make you drowsy following
the procedure. Arrange before the procedure to have someone to drive you home.
This procedure requires you to fast. Typically, doctors ask
that you abstain from eating eight hours prior to the procedure.
How Is The Endoscope Inserted?
During the procedure, you will be asked to remove any jewelry
or dentures. You will then be given an anesthetic and something to relieve the
pain. You will lie on your back and an
endoscope (flexible tube with a camera attached) will be placed in your
mouth and down your esophagus. The camera will help the doctor visualize your
stomach lining to ensure that the feeding tube is positioned properly.
When the stomach is visible, the doctor will make a small
incision in your abdomen. Next, the doctor will insert the feeding tube through
the opening. He or she will secure the tube and place a sterile dressing around
the site. There may be a little drainage. The whole procedure usually lasts
under an hour.
The feeding tube can be temporary or permanent, depending on
the reason for the feeding tube.
resting after the procedure as the medicine may make you feel drowsy. The
abdomen should heal in about five to seven days. After the tube is inserted,
you may meet with a dietician who will show you how to use the tube for
feeding. The dietician will also educate you on how to care for the tube.
Drainage around the tube is normal for a day or two, and a
nurse will probably change your dressing on a regular basis. Feeling pain for a
few days around the place where you were cut is normal. Make sure to keep the
area dry and clean to avoid skin irritation or infection.
There are some risks associated with the procedure, but they
are not common. Risks include trouble breathing and nausea from the medication.
Excessive bleeding and infection are risks whenever you have a surgery, even with
a minor procedure such as a feeding tube insertion.
Call the Doctor
leave the hospital or clinic, make sure you know how to care for your feeding
tube and when you need to contact a doctor. You should call your doctor if:
- the tube comes out
- you have trouble with the formula or if the tube
- you notice excessive bleeding
- you have drainage around the site after several
- you have signs and symptoms of an infection,
including redness, swelling, or a fever