Gastro-Jejunostomy (GJ) Tube
Before the Procedure
You will be instructed 24-48 hours on pre-procedure protocol, including how to prepare for surgery and a specific number of hours to hold fluids and foods. You’ll also be given instructions on what supplies are needed and where to get them.
Your care team will review information on how to use your tube and supplies again after the procedure.
During the Procedure
For laparoscopic placement, the abdomen will feel full because air was placed into the abdomen to assist with the tube placement.
After the Procedure
You or your loved one may not be allowed to shower or bathe until the next day after the surgery, but typically showers are allowed after that. The tube shouldn’t be submerged in bath water for one to two weeks after the surgery.
Your care team will teach you how to clean the stoma site. It’s normal for there to be some drainage after the procedure that’s blood-tinged, clear, or cream-colored. 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.
Some medication may be given to help with pain, as well as a prescription to take home. Make sure you understand if medication should be given via the J port or the G port, or if it can be taken orally.
Your care team will teach you how to administer feeds, medication, and venting. You’ll also be given a feeding schedule and you’ll be told if you can eliminate 24-hour feeds once home.
Remember: do NOT rotate this GJ tube.
You’ll be told who and when to call if you have any problems. and what requires emergent (immediate) attention and care and what can be addressed within a 24-hour period.
Your First Day at Home
Be sure to avoid clothes that are tight-fitting or may cause friction against the stoma site. Securing a standard-length tube will help prevent the tube from getting snagged or yanked out accidentally.
Follow your feeding schedule and instructions, utilizing venting as needed and if recommended by your care team. Set up your pump on a pole or in a backpack for continuous feeds.
Performing daily tube and stoma care is important. Oral care should also still be done, regardless if any food or medication is consumed orally. Frequent toothbrushing and rinsing your mouth several times a day is helpful.
Your care team should have taught you how to give medications and what port to use, as well as instructions if the medications need to be diluted with water to prevent cramping and diarrhea. Be sure to follow instructions on when and how to give medications and flush your tube before and after medications are administered. Proper flushing and tube care is particularly important with GJ tubes as they are more prone to clogs.
Make sure the tube is protected from excessive handling, as well as protected from pets or small children. Remember: do NOT rotate GJ tubes.
Give your information to your home medical equipment provider for future supply needs. You’ll also want to schedule a date for GJ tube replacement as well as a post-procedure clinic visit.
Understand and follow guidance on urgent situations (requires attention within 24 hours) and emergent problems (requires immediate care).
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.