Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy: Overview
Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy is a procedure to make an opening between the skin of your belly and your stomach. The doctor will put a thin tube called a gastrostomy tube into your stomach through the opening. This tube is sometimes called a G-tube, a PEG tube, or a feeding tube. The tube can put liquid nutrition, fluid, and medicines directly into your stomach. The tube also may be used to drain liquid or air from the stomach.
You will get medicine to numb the back of your throat. You also will get medicine to make you sleep or feel relaxed. The medicine also prevents pain during the procedure. The doctor will put a thin, lighted tube that bends (called an endoscope, or scope) into your mouth. He or she will move the scope gently down your throat. The scope will have a camera on it. The doctor will look at a monitor (like a TV set or a computer screen) as he or she moves the scope into your stomach. The doctor will send puffs of air through the scope. This inflates your stomach. It helps the doctor see where to place the feeding tube.
The doctor will make a small cut in your belly. The cut is called an incision. The doctor will put the feeding tube into your mouth. Then he or she will guide the tube down your throat into your stomach. The doctor will pull one end of the feeding tube out of your belly through the incision. This end of the feeding tube will stay outside your body. The other end will stay in your stomach. The doctor may use stitches to close the incision around the feeding tube.
You will need to learn how to use and care for your feeding tube. Your doctor may recommend that you have a nurse or dietitian visit you at home to help you get started with your feeding tube. At first you may need a friend or family member to help you with your tube feedings. But with practice, you may be able to do it yourself.
A feeding tube can break down over time. If this happens, the tube will be removed and replaced. Sometimes a tube is removed if you have an infection that is getting worse. Sometimes a tube will come out by itself. Your doctor will give you instructions about what to do if this happens.
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