People should consider a feeding tube placement, or percutaneous endoscopic gastronomy (PEG), if they:

  • Have trouble swallowing
  • Have issues with their appetite
  • Or are unable to obtain nutrients through the mouth

This is a gastrointestinal procedure that allows medications, liquids, or nutrition to directly enter the stomach through a flexible tube placed in the abdominal wall. Patients are given intravenous sedative and local anesthesia. This is usually a same day procedure. Your doctor will specify eating and drinking restrictions and advise you on how best to take care of your PEG tube.

The purpose of a feeding tube placement

With the placement of the feeding tube, medications, liquids, or nutrition can be introduced to the stomach directly, instead of passing through the mouth and esophagus. This can benefit patients who have appetite issues, an inability to obtain nutrients via their mouth, or find swallowing difficult.

What to expect

You will likely receive an antibiotic, a local anesthesia, and an intravenous sedative prior to your procedure. Your doctor will insert a camera attached to a flexible tube, which is called an endoscope. Once a small opening in your upper abdomen is created, your doctor places and secures the feeding tube in the stomach. Patients generally return home either the same day of the procedure or the day after.

After the procedure

After one-two days, the dressing placed on the PEG site will be removed. After the dressing has been taken off, clean the PEG site once every day using diluted soap and water. Keep the site dry when not cleaning the site.

There are restrictions on your oral intake if you had the PEG tube has been placed because you had trouble swallowing after you had a stroke, or another medical issue. Liquid nutrition and fluids specially made for using with your PEG tube are available. Your doctor will instruct you further.

Tube removal and replacement

Your feeding tube is durable and can last from months to years. They can break, or clog over time, requiring a replacement. Your doctor is able to easily and quickly remove and replace your tube; in most cases you won’t need sedatives or anesthesia. If your feeding tube is removed accidentally, seek immediate attention because the hole closes quickly once the tube is removed.