PEG stands for percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy, a procedure through which a flexible feeding tube is placed through the abdominal wall and into the stomach. It allows nutrition, fluids, and/or medications to be put directly into the stomach, bypassing the mouth and esophagus. The information below will give you a basic understanding of the procedure – how it’s performed, how it can help, and what side effects you might experience. It can’t answer all of your questions, since a lot depends on the individual patient and the doctor’s professional judgment. When you meet with a member of our team, we will ensure that all of your remaining questions are answered and that you fully understand the procedure and what it entails.
Your doctor will use a lighted flexible tube called an endoscope to guide the creation of a small opening through the skin of the abdomen and directly into the stomach. This procedure allows the doctor to place and secure a feeding tube into the stomach. Patients generally receive a mild sedative and local anesthesia, and an antibiotic is given by vein prior to the procedure. Patients can usually go home the day of the procedure or the next day.
Patients who have difficulty swallowing, problems with their appetite, or an inability to take enough nutrition through the mouth can benefit from this procedure.
A dressing will be placed on the PEG site following the procedure. This dressing is usually removed after one or two days. After that, you should clean the site once a day with diluted soap and water; keep the site dry between cleansings. No special dressing or covering is needed.
Liquid nutritional supplements are given through the PEG tube using a large syringe, a gravity drip using a tube connected to a hanging plastic bag, or a mechanical pump. Your doctor or other health care provider will give you complete instructions and a demonstration. A PEG does not prevent a patient from eating or drinking, but you and your doctor might decide to limit your eating or drinking depending on any associated medical conditions.
Complications can occur with the PEG placement. Possible complications include pain at the PEG site, leakage of stomach contents around the tube site, and dislodgement or malfunction of the tube. Possible complications include infection of the PEG site, aspiration (inhalation of gastric contents into the lungs), bleeding, and perforation (an unwanted hole in the bowel wall). Your doctor can describe for you symptoms that could indicate a possible complication.
PEG tubes can last for months or years. However, because they can break down or become clogged over extended periods of time, they may need to be replaced. Your doctor can easily remove or replace a tube without sedatives or anesthesia, although your doctor might opt to use sedation and endoscopy in some cases. Your doctor will pull out the tube using firm traction and 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 accidental dislodgement requires immediate attention.
At our office and surgical center in Hillsborough, NJ, our gastroenterology care team will guide you through each step of the PEG process and ensure that you are informed on how to care for yourself after the procedure. To make an appointment or to learn more, please call 908-218-9818.
At Digestive Healthcare Center, we are proud to always put our patients first. Whether you visit us at one of our three office locations in NJ or speak to one of our doctors through a telemedicine appointment, we will take the time needed to learn about you and your concerns, and then create a personalized treatment plan for you. Make your digestive health a priority and schedule an appointment at DHC today.