If you can’t drink or eat enough through the mouth or you have trouble swallowing food, you may require a feeding tube. You can get one through your mouth or nose for several weeks or days as you recover from a particular illness. However, if you have severe or long-term reasons why you can’t eat, such as terminal cancer or dementia, you can have a relatively simple surgical procedure known as percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy or PEG. During this surgery, your surgeon will cut through your belly skin and insert the tube directly into your stomach to help in delivering a liquid food formula or a mixture.
G-tubes (Gastric Tubes)
The gastronomy tube is one of the most popular types of feeding tubes. These tubes are surgically inserted through the wall of the abdomen into the stomach. There are several kinds of gastric tubes. Any type of G-tube can be inserted first. In fact, it is the gastroenterologist or the surgeon who determines the first kind of G-tube placed. Here are some of the popular types of gastric tubes you will encounter.
Long Tubes and PEG
These are single tubes held securely in place by a bumper or a retention balloon. They are mostly used as the first G-tube during the first 8 to 12 weeks after surgery.
Buttons or Low Profile Tubes
These tubes don’t have a long tube attached perpetually attached on the outside of the stomach. In its place, they have a tube known as an extension set which is attached for medication administration or feeding and then detached when you are not using it. If an extension set is not connected to the button, it rests relatively flat against your body. These tubes come in two forms:
- Balloon buttons
These tubes are held securely in place using a water-filled balloon. They are the most common gastric tubes used in kids. You can easily change them at home, meaning you don’t need a doctor to do it.
- Non-balloon buttons
The non-balloon buttons are more difficult to pull out than the balloon buttons. You cannot replace them at home. They can only be placed at the hospital or doctor’s office, sometimes with an appropriate pain reliever or sedation.
Button pads can assist in absorbing leakage from the tube and the stomache as well as reducing inflammation and irritation under and around the tube. Many doctors and parents feel that they assist in preventing and reducing granulation tissue as well. In case of any complications such as the tube coming out, leakages around the tube, or irritation and redness on the skin around the tube, you should always contact a medical professional for assistance.
This article is not offering any professional medical advice. Please consult your doctor for any questions.