Gastrostomy Tube (G Tube) (Stomach tube)

What is a gastrostomy tube?

A gastrostomy tube is a flexible plastic hollow tube placed into the stomach through the skin overlying the stomach. The purpose of gastrostomy is to provide a way to give patients food and medications.

When is a gastrostomy tube necessary?

Gastrostomy tubes are necessary and should be considered when patients can not swallow normally or safely for prolonged periods of time.

How is a gastrostomy tube placed into a patient?

The gastrostomy tube is insertion is a surgical procedure done either in the operating room or at the patient's bedside with a special type of endoscope called a gastroscope.

The gastrostomy performed in the operating room requires general anesthesia. The operating surgeon places the gastrostomy tube directly into the stomach after making an opening in the skin overlying the stomach. The gastrostomy performed at the patient's bedside involves the use of an endoscope, a lighted flexible tube that is inserted through the mouth into the stomach. The endoscope enables the doctor to see whatever is at the end of the flexible tube. The patient receives sedation plus a local anesthetic. The gastrostomy tube is inserted through the skin into the stomach while the doctor is looking into the stomach through the endoscope. After the gastrostomy tube is placed, if the patient has a nasogastric or feeding tube, they may be removed.

Does a gastrostomy tube hurt?

Whether the gastrostomy tube is placed into the patient in the operating room or at the patient's bedside, medications are given to prevent the patient from feeling pain during the procedure. After the gastrostomy tube is in place it may be sore for a short period of time. Usually it does not hurt and most patients do not realize that it is there.

Are there any potential complications associated with a gastrostomy and G tube?

Complications associated with the gastrostomy tube insertion include bleeding, infection, and improper tube placement.

Gastrostomy tube inserted through the abdominal wall into the stomach