A percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tube is a feeding tube surgically placed through your abdomen into your stomach. It’s placed using a lighted flexible scope called an endoscope. The endoscope lets your healthcare provider to see inside your stomach as the procedure is done.
The PEG tube can stay in your stomach for months or years so you can take fluids, medicines, and nutrition through it when you can’t take in enough by mouth. Once you have this type of tube, it is important to let your healthcare provider know if the tube comes out because the opening will close quickly.
A PEG tube may be a good choice for children or adults who can’t eat and drink enough to meet their daily nutrition needs. A PEG tube may also help prevent a dangerous condition called aspiration. Aspiration can happen if you have trouble swallowing normally and food or liquids enter your lungs.
Some common conditions in which a PEG tube may be recommended include:
A PEG tube may be placed if you have a long-term condition that will not allow you to swallow. To have this procedure, you must be able to digest food normally once the food reaches your stomach.
In some cases, such as a minor stroke from which you may recover, a PEG tube may be temporary. A PEG tube lasts about one year. Replacing the old tube is usually a simple procedure that your healthcare provider can do without surgery or anesthesia.
PEG tube placement is a safe procedure, but all surgeries carry some risks. You will need to sign a consent form that explains the risks and benefits of the surgery and you should discuss these risks and benefits with your healthcare provider. Some potential risks of PEG tube insertion include:
There may be other risks, depending on your specific medical condition. Be sure to discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider before the procedure.
Ask your healthcare provider to tell you what you should do before PEG tube placement. Below is a list of common steps that you may be asked to do.
Talk with your healthcare provider about what will happen during PEG tube placement. PEG tube placement is usually done under local anesthesia and sedation.
You will have an intravenous line (IV) started in your hand or arm so you can receive fluids and medicines. You may be given pain medicine and medicine to make you sleepy through your IV. You may also be given antibiotics through your IV.
Before the procedure starts, you will need to remove any dentures. A numbing medicine may be sprayed into your throat to prevent gagging from the endoscope. A mouth guard may also be inserted. The actual procedure takes about 20 minutes. This is what usually happens during the procedure:
You will be taken to the recovery room to be observed while you recover from the anesthesia. You may be able to go home on the day of the procedure. Here is some of what you can expect after the procedure:
There is a lot to learn about using and caring for a PEG tube. You will need to work closely with your medical team. The team may include healthcare providers, pharmacists, and nutrition specialists. You will probably be told to make sure you are always upright when feeding. You may still be able to eat by mouth, discuss this with your healthcare team.
Here are some of the other steps you need to learn:
Tell your healthcare provider about any of the following:
Before you agree to the test or the procedure make sure you know:
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