Jejunostomy (J) Tube

Before the Procedure

On the day of the surgery, you should be shown a J tube or a picture of one.  J tubes may be low-profile or standard-length.

Several days at the hospital are likely for this 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

Anesthesia is given for the procedure. The procedure typically lasts in the operating room for one to three hours, and then in a post-anesthesia recovery area for another few hours.

After the Procedure

Medication will be given to help with pain, as well as a prescription to take home.

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 around the stoma is normal and should go away in about three days.

For standard length tubes, the tube may be secured to the abdomen with tape.

A sponge bath the first day after surgery is best.  Upon discharge, you’ll receive instructions on what to do for daily tube and stoma care, as well as how to use and care for the extension set (if using a low-profile tube). You’ll also be taught how to administer feeds or medication, how to flush the tube, and when to call your doctor.

Feedings by pump will likely start for 24 hours a day.  Your physician will indicate if rate can be increased to give you or your loved one some time off the pump.

Your First Day at Home

On your first day home, find a good place to store supplies. You’ll want to prepare nutrition and feeding bags in a clean space. Refer to your written directions for nutrition preparation and rate instructions.

Clean the J tube site every day with soap and water. Don’t allow the J tube site to be submerged in bath water for one to two weeks after surgery. Baths are fine, but the water level must be below the J tube site. Remember not to rotate or excessively manipulate these tubes.

Flush the tube daily and before and after any medications.  Oral care is important even if foods or medications aren’t taken orally.  Frequent toothbrushing and rinsing your mouth several times a day can be helpful.

Try to arrange the feeding set tubing to be coiled loosely and taped to prevent accidental snags. Using a backpack is especially helpful to navigate both inside and outside of your home.  The DME company can provide one specifically designed for your pump.

Review all instructions provided by your care team and understand what requires urgent (care within 24 hours) or emergent (immediate) attention.

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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