Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy (PEG)
Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) is a procedure that involves a flexible feeding tube being placed through the abdominal wall into the stomach.
How Is The PEG Performed?
Your doctor will use an endoscope, a lighted flexible tube, to guide the creation of a small opening through the skin of the abdomen and directly into the stomach. This procedure allows a doctor to place and secure a feeding tube into the stomach. Patients typically receive a mild sedative or local anesthesia and antibiotics. Patients are usually allowed to go home the same day of the procedure.
Who Can Benefit From A PEG?
PEGs are performed on patients that have problems with their appetite, difficulty swallowing, or are unable to take enough nutrition through their mouths.
How Should I Care For The PEG Tube?
A dressing will be placed on the PEG site after the procedure. It can be removed after one or two days. The site should be cleaned once a day with diluted soap and water and you should keep the site dry between these cleansings. No special dressing or covering is needed.
How Are Feedings Given? Can I Still Eat And Drink?
Liquid nutritional supplements are administered through the PEG tube using a large syringe, a gravity drip, or a mechanical pump. A PEG does not prevent a patient from eating or drinking, but your doctor may ask you to limit this type of intake based on associated medical conditions.
Are There Complications From PEG Placement?
Complications can occur during the insertion of a PEG tube. Thiis includes pain at the PEG site, leakage of stomach contents around the tube site, dislodgement, or malfunction of the tube. Aspiration (an inhalation of gastric contents into the lungs), bleeding and perforation (an unwanted hole in the bowel wall) could also occur. Your doctor can also provide you with more symptoms to be wary of.
How Long Do The Tubes Last? How Are They Removed?
PEG can last for months or years, however because they can become clogged over extended periods of time or begin to break down, it is is important that you see your doctor regularly so that they can be replaced. Your doctor can easily remove or replace a tube without sedatives/anesthesia although your doctor might opt to use sedation/endoscopy in some cases. The tube can be pulled out using firm traction, and your gastroenterologist will either insert a new tube or let the opening close if no replacement is needed. PEG sites close quickly once the tube is removed, so if you feel that your tube has been accidentally dislodged you will need to seek out your doctor immediately.