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What is a gastrostomy tube?
A gastrostomy tube (G-tube) is a tube that is placed into the stomach to provide an alternate way to offer food and/or medications. It also can be used to vent the stomach for air or drainage.
Why is it necessary to have a G-tube placed?
There are many reasons that a G-tube may have to be placed. The list can be quite extensive and each case is individualized. Some of the reasons include, but are not limited to: poor weight gain, inability to feed orally, trouble swallowing, esophageal or intestinal anomalies, neurological problems, cardiac disease, metabolic disease and/or respiratory disease.
How is a G-tube placed?
There are two ways to place a G-tube surgically. One option is minimally invasive and the other is performing an open procedure. If the G-tube is placed using a minimally invasive technique, small puncture sites are used to place small instruments into the abdomen to help facilitate pulling the stomach up to the abdominal wall. The G-tube is then inserted through one of these small puncture sites and secured in place.
An open procedure is sometimes used if the patient has had previous abdominal surgery. Once again, the stomach is brought up to the abdominal wall but it is through a traditional open incision.
What can be expected after the G-tube is in place?
Shortly after the G-tube is placed, education will be completed with the family to learn basic G-tube care. If your child was able to feed orally prior to surgery. your child may continue to do so using the G-tube for supplemental feedings. A feeding schedule will be established prior to discharge from the hospital. You will then follow-up with your primary care provider to take over management of your child’s feedings.
Your child may resume normal activity once released from the hospital. Regular bathing can be resumed 7-10 days after the operation. There are no restrictions on swimming in a swimming pool, but we advise you to keep your child from swimming in ponds and hot tubs.
How long will my child need a G-tube?
The duration of how long a child needs a G-tube is different for each patient. Some children may only need the G-tube for a few months while others may need it for years. The primary care provider will determine when the G-tube is able to be removed. Once this decision is made please, call the Pediatric Surgery office to discuss the process of getting the G-tube taken out.
Pediatric General Surgery
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