What is PEG?

A percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) is a procedure to place a feeding tube. These feeding tubes are often called PEG tubes or G tubes. The tube allows you to receive nutrition directly through your stomach. This type of feeding is also known as enteral feeding or enteral nutrition.

Why PEG is done? And Who needs a PEG tube?

If you have difficulty swallowing (dysphagia). Causes of dysphagia may include:

  1. Brain injury.
  2. Head and neck cancer.
  3. Stroke.
  4. Chronic appetite loss due to severe illnesses like cancer.

Feeding tubes may also be useful if you have a condition that interferes with how your body processes nutrition. For example, you may benefit from a PEG tube if you have cystic fibrosis or receive dialysis for kidney failure. Someone in a coma may receive a PEG tube to help keep them alive.

How PEG is done ?

Before surgery, You need to tell if you have any heart conditions, bleeding risks or medication allergies.

Don't eat or drink at least eight hours before the surgery. Most healthcare providers place PEG tubes with endoscopic surgery. Endoscopic procedures use small incisions and a long, flexible instrument called an endoscope. On the day of surgery, you receive intravenous (IV) anesthesia and antibiotics. The anesthesia ensures that you remain calm and numb during the procedure. The antibiotic prevents infection.You may also receive a local anesthetic. A local anesthetic is an injection of numbing medicine. You receive this injection near where your surgeon makes the incision.

During percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy, your surgeon:

  1. Makes a small incision in your upper abdomen.
  2. Places the tube through the incision.
  3. Connects the tube to your stomach

The entire procedure only takes around 20 to 30 minutes. Usually, you can return home the same day or the next morning.

Post PEG recovery

You’ll have a bandage over the incision site. You may see some drainage around the incision for up to 48 hours.

Can you see the PEG tube outside the body after surgery?

Yes. PEG tubes are about the size of a pen or pencil. You’ll see 6 to 12 inches of the tube coming out of the incision area. Around the tube is a disc called an external bumper. This bumper prevents the tube from going further into your stomach.

At the end of the feeding tube is a small cap or plug. This plug prevents stomach acid or contents from leaking onto your skin or clothes. You can open this plug to receive food, water or medications.

Advantages of PEG

PEG tubes are an important treatment if you have difficulty swallowing or are unable to get adequate nutrition. After G tube placement, you receive specialized nutrition and hydration.

What are the risks or complications of PEG tubes?

Possible risks of percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy include:

  1. Accidental tube dislodgement (tube moving out of place or coming out).
  2. Aspiration (accidentally inhaling your stomach contents).
  3. Bleeding and perforation (hole in the wall of your bowel or intestine).
  4. Infection near the incision.
  5. Pain near the PEG tube.
  6. Stomach leakage around the tube.

You’ll need to clean your PEG tube daily to decrease your risk of complications.

Can I eat and drink by mouth with a PEG tube?

After tube placement, most people receive fluids and liquid nutrition through the tube. People who need PEG tubes because of swallowing problems have restrictions on eating and drinking by mouth. Some people may still eat and drink small amounts through the mouth.

How long do PEG tubes last?

PEG tubes can last for months or years. They may clog or wear down over time. If your G tube is wearing out, you may notice:

  1. Bumps on the tube.
  2. Leaking.
  3. Pits or indentations on the tube.

If you need a new PEG tube, your provider can easily replace the tube without invasive surgery or anesthesia. If you don’t need the tube anymore, your provider may remove the tube. The opening in your stomach closes on its own.