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.

You should expect your child to be admitted to the hospital for a few days after surgery to start and advance feeds.  You will be instructed 24-48 hours on pre-procedure protocol, including how to prepare for surgery, such as bathing your child, 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

Your child will receive anesthesia for the procedure. Your child will be in the operating room for one to three hours, and then will be in a post-anesthesia recovery area for another few hours.

After the Procedure

Your child may be given medication 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.

Your child will receive feedings by pump for 24 hours a day. Occasionally, the rate can be increased to give your child some time off the pump.  Detach the extension set (for low profile tubes) and cap the tube when the pump is not in use.

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 giving any medications.  Remember oral care should be practiced, even if foods or medications are not taken orally.  Frequent toothbrushing and using infant swabs are helpful.

Your child’s feeding set tubing should be coiled loosely and taped to prevent accidental pulling by siblings or pets. For children who can walk, a special backpack made for their pump can be provided by the DME company, which allows them to be more mobile.

Refer to your care team’s instructions 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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