A percutaneous endoscopic gastronomy is abbreviated as PEG. During this procedure, a flexible feeding tube is inserted through the abdominal wall and into the stomach. This allows nutrition, fluids and/or medications to be put directly into the stomach, bypassing the mouth and esophagus.
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This is used for patients who aren’t getting enough nutrition through normal eating, aren’t able to eat or have difficulty swallowing.
Prior to the procedure, your physician will most likely spray a local anesthetic on your throat, give you a mild sedative and/or provide an IV (intravenous) antibiotic. A lighted, flexible tube called an endoscope is inserted through your mouth to provide guidance when your doctor makes a small opening in the skin of the abdomen directly into the stomach. The feeding tube is then inserted into this small opening and secured. You will generally be able to go home the day of the procedure or the next.
The placement of a feeding tube doesn’t prevent you from eating and drinking; however, there may be specific reasons (based on your medical condition) for you to avoid eating and drinking. Ask your doctor for his or her instructions regarding eating and drinking.
There are three different ways the liquid nutritional supplements may be delivered into the tube and your stomach – a large syringe, a gravity drip with a tube connected to a hanging plastic bag or a mechanical pump.
A dressing will be placed on the insertion site following the procedure and should remain there for two to three days. After that, you should clean the area once a day with diluted soap and water, keeping the site dry between cleanings. No other special covering is needed.
Generally, the tubes can last several months or years unless they break down or become clogged. Your healthcare provider can easily remove and replace a tube, usually without requiring an endoscopy or sedation. The PEG site heals quickly, so if a tube becomes accidentally dislodged, contact our office immediately so a new tube can be inserted.
There are some possible complications to watch for – these include pain at the PEG site, leakage of stomach contents around the site and dislodgement or malfunction of the tube. You may also experience an infection of the site (with red skin and/or a fever), aspiration (inhaling your stomach contents into your lungs), bleeding or a perforation (tear) in the colon wall.
If you have a fever, severe pain, rectal bleeding, black or tarry stools, or notice a problem with the tube, contact our office immediately. Please call with any other questions or concerns.