Adults

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Gastrostomy (G) Tubes

Before the Procedure

Prior to the surgery, you will be shown an actual G tube (standard-length or low-profile) or a picture of one. You’ll be told specific information about how the tube will be placed.

You or your loved one may be in the hospital for a few days after the surgery. If this is not your first gastrostomy tube, surgery is likely not necessary to place or replace a G tube and you may be able to have your tube replaced in the office or clinic.

Showering or bathing the night or morning before the procedure should be done. Nothing should be eaten or drank for several hours before the surgery. You’ll be told a specific number of hours to hold fluids and food a day or two before the procedure.

Your care team will talk to you about the tube and how it works, along with how to care for it. This information will be repeated to you after the procedure.

During the Procedure

Expect the procedure to take one to three hours. You or your loved one will receive anesthesia for the procedure and will then be in the post-anesthesia recovery area for a few hours.

The tube can be placed using a variety of methods. Your doctor will choose the one that is best suited for you.

If this is a replacement tube or you’re moving from a PEG or another tube to a low-profile (MIC-KEY*) tube, your doctor will measure your stoma and choose the correct sized tube for you.

After the Procedure

After a few hours, clear liquids will be given down the G tube and, if tolerated, feedings will be started after that.

The stoma site may be tender at first. Pain medication will be given as needed. Expect to see some drainage (clear, cream, or blood-tinged) at the site. Your care team may use a dressing to absorb the drainage. Dressings will be used only in the initial days of post op, if drainage occurs.  Be sure to change the dressing as often as needed to keep the site dry, as wet and soiled dressings can cause the skin to breakdown around the stoma site.  Some redness after the procedure is normal and should go away in about three days.

The tube will need to be rotated a full turn every day. Your care team will begin showing and teaching you how to care for your tube and stoma site.

Upon discharge, you should be given further instructions on what to do for daily tube and stoma care.  You’ll also be taught how to administer feeds and medication using your tube and extension sets (for MIC-KEY* tubes), how to flush the tube, what additional feeding supplies will be needed and where to get them and when to call your doctor.

If a mature stoma exists and this tube was simply a replacement tube, you may be shown how to replace the tube at home.

Your First Day at Home

You’ll want to find a good place to store supplies once you get home.

Bathing instructions will be given to you by the care team, but it’s generally safe to shower the day after the G tube placement. If using a bathtub, it’s recommended not to submerge the G tube in bath water for one to two weeks after the initial placement. It’s important to remember about oral care even if food or medication isn’t taken orally. Regular tooth brushing and rinsing your mouth several times a day is helpful.

Rotate the tube daily to prevent it from sticking in the track or to the stomach lining.

You’ll need to clean the site, tube, and extension set (for MIC-KEY* tubes) daily.  Follow flushing recommendations, which can be found in your Instructions For Use (IFU) or Care Guide to help prevent tube clogs.

You’ll want to refer to your written directions for feeding instructions. This includes when to feed, what to feed, how much to feed, and pump-setting information if relevant.  Be sure to understand what issues may require urgent (attention within 24 hours) or emergent (immediate) care.  When in doubt-call your care team.

 

Remember: the first day at home after any big change is going to require some adjustment. But before long, you’ll become more used to the feeding tube and you’ll develop a new routine that’s second nature to you.

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