What is a gastrostomy feeding tube?
A gastrostomy feeding tube is either a tube or a button (skin level device) that is surgically placed into the stomach through the abdominal wall. There are a wide variety of tubes and skin level devices available. Your surgeon will choose the device which best meets you and your child's needs with the least invasive technique.
Your child has had a tube placed in his / her stomach called a gastrostomy tube or g-tube. This tube provides an alternate way to offer food and / or medicines. It also can be used to vent your child's stomach for air or drainage.
When the tube is first placed in your child's stomach it may or may not be secured with a stitch through the skin and around the tube. This helps the tube stay in place until the gastrostomy tract is well healed. If your child has a stitch around the tube, healing takes place in about 21 days. A tract will form between the stomach and skin in about 3 months. Your doctor may talk to you about changing the tube at this time.
Who needs a gastrostomy?
Children require gastrostomy feeding tubes for a variety of reasons. The primary indication for gastrostomy is the child's inability to take adequate nutrition or liquids by mouth for growth and development. The reasons why the child is unable to take proper nutrition can be developmental, mechanical, or secondary to other health problems.
Flushing the G-Tube
It is important to flush your child's g-tube before and after any tube feedings, before and after any medications or at least every eight hours. Usually 3-10 ml of water will clear the tube; however, your doctor or nurse will tell you the amount to give your child.
Venting the Tube
- You may need to vent your child's tube to remove excess air or fluid in your child's stomach. It can be done 2 different ways. Your doctor or nurse will tell you if this is needed.
- Open the G-tube port and attach to a drainage device (such as a mucous trap or drainage bag). You may be asked to measure and record the amount of drainage.
- Your physician may instruct you to vent the g-tube using a catheter-tip syringe and aspirating the excess air or gastric fluid from stomach. This is used for bloating, distension or gagging. You may be asked to measure and record any drainage and frequency.
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