Long-Term Feeding Tube Placement

Feeding tubes are placed through the skin directly into the gut. They are typically used in patients who are unable to ingest food by mouth. In cases of chronic bowel obstruction the tube may be used to drain secretions and swallowed air from the stomach.

The tubes are named for where they are placed. A gastrostomy tube (G-tube) is placed directly into the stomach. A gastrojejunostomy (G-J tube) has two channels that split: one ends in the stomach and the other exits the stomach extending into the jejunum (middle portion of the small intestine.) A jejunostomy tube (J-tube) is placed directly into the small intestine.

What happens during the procedure ?

Conscious sedation is provided prior to starting the procedure. Patients will lie flat on the x-ray table. You will lie flat on the x-ray table and be connected to several types of monitoring equipment.

The skin overlying left upper abdomen is cleansed with a betadine solution after which sterile drapes are placed over the abdomen. A small tube is inserted through the patient’s nose, down the esophagus and into the stomach. Air is used to inflate the stomach for better visualization and to push nearby organs away from the planned path of the tube.

Live x-ray is used to visualize the stomach and colon and then choose the best site from which to approach the stomach. Lidocaine local anesthesia is injected into the overlying skin. The skin is punctured where the gastrostomy tube will be inserted. Using X-ray the Interventional Radiologist checks for proper tube placement.

If a G-J tube is needed, the jejunal portion of the tube is directed into the small intestine. The same technique is used to place a direct J-tube except the small intestine is punctured directly. This procedure takes approximately 1 hour.

What happens after the procedure ?

Since conscious sedation medicine was administered, you will be required to recover for 2 hours after the end of the procedure in recovery area.You must have a responsible adult available to drive/escort you home from the hospital. You may resume your normal diet after the procedure.  Avoid alcoholic beverages and depressant drugs for 24 hours.

DO NOT take aspirin-containing products (Bufferin, Excedrin, Ecotrin, etc.), Ibuprofen, vitamin E, or blood thinning products (Coumadin, Plavix) for 24 hours after the procedure.  You may take Tylenol (1-2 tablets every 4-6 hours) for mild discomfort.  Call the Radiology Department for pain, unrelieved by Tylenol for the first 24 hours following your procedure.

Please make sure you had a nutritional consult to receive tube feedings that are adequate to your needs.