PEG Tube Placement
What is a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tube?
A percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tube is a feeding tube surgically placed
through your abdomen into your stomach. It’s placed using a lighted flexible scope
called an endoscope. The endoscope lets your healthcare provider see inside your stomach
as the procedure is done.
The PEG tube can stay in your stomach for months or years so you can take fluids,
medicines, and nutrition through it when you can’t take in enough by mouth. Once you
have this type of tube, it is important to let your healthcare provider know if the
tube comes out because the opening will close quickly.
Why might I need a PEG tube?
A PEG tube may be a good choice for children or adults who can’t eat and drink enough
to meet their daily nutrition needs. A PEG tube may also help prevent a dangerous
condition called aspiration. But a PEG tube can't fully eliminate aspiration. Aspiration
can happen if you have trouble swallowing normally and food or liquids enter your
Some common conditions in which a PEG tube may be recommended include:
A PEG tube may be placed if you have a long-term condition that will not allow you
to swallow. To have this procedure, you must be able to digest food normally once
it reaches your stomach.
In some cases, a PEG tube may be temporary. For example, if you have a minor stroke
from which you may recover. A PEG tube lasts about 1 year. Replacing the old tube
is usually a simple procedure that your healthcare provider can do without surgery
What are the risks of PEG tube placement?
PEG tube placement is a safe procedure, but all surgeries carry some risks. You will
need to sign a consent form that explains the risks and benefits of the surgery and
gives your healthcare provider permission to do the procedure. You should discuss
these risks and benefits with your healthcare provider. Some potential risks of PEG
tube insertion include:
Reactions to the anesthesia
Leakage of stomach contents around the tube
Infection of the tube site
Infection that spreads inside the belly
Bleeding from the incision area
Bleeding or infection from damage to other organs inside the belly
Blockage or dislodging of the tube
There may be other risks, depending on your specific medical condition. Be sure to
discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider before the procedure.
How do I get ready for a PEG tube placement?
Ask your healthcare provider to tell you what you should do before PEG tube placement.
Below is a list of common steps that you may be asked to do:
In the days before your surgery, tell your healthcare provider about any prescription
and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins or herbal supplements you take.
You may be asked to stop taking aspirin or other medicines that thin your blood and
may increase the chance of bleeding.
You will be asked to sign a consent form before the procedure. Read the form carefully
and ask any questions you have before you sign it.
Tell your healthcare provider if you or someone in your family has any history of
reaction to anesthesia.
If you smoke, you may be asked to stop smoking well before surgery.
Follow any directions you are given for not eating or drinking before surgery.
Ask your healthcare provider if you should take your regular medicines with a small
sip of water.
Wear loose, comfortable clothing on the day of surgery.
If you are going home after surgery, arrange to have someone drive you home and stay
with you during the early recovery period.
What happens during a PEG tube placement?
Talk with your healthcare provider about what will happen during PEG tube placement.
PEG tube placement is usually done under local anesthesia and sedation.
You will have an IV (intravenous) line started in your hand or arm so you can receive
fluids and medicines. You may be given medicine for pain and to make you sleepy through
your IV. You may also be given antibiotics through your IV.
Before the procedure starts, you will need to remove any dentures. A numbing medicine
may be sprayed into your throat to prevent gagging from the endoscope. A mouth guard
may also be inserted. The actual procedure takes about 20 minutes. This is what usually
happens during the procedure:
The skin over your belly is cleaned and a numbing medicine is injected.
The endoscope is passed through your mouth into your stomach.
A small surgical cut is made through your skin and into your stomach.
The PEG tube is inserted through the opening while the healthcare provider watches
through the endoscope.
The tube is held in place inside your stomach with the help of a special balloon or
A small dressing is placed at the new opening.
What happens after a PEG tube placement?
You will be taken to the post-anesthesia care unit to be observed while you recover
from the anesthesia. You may be able to go home on the day of the procedure. Here
is some of what you can expect after the procedure:
Expect to feel some pain, such as pain at the incision and cramping or gas pain. Follow
your healthcare provider's instructions for pain control.
The dressing over the incision area can be removed after about 1 or 2 days as instructed.
The incision area takes about 5 days to heal. You will be taught to clean the area
daily with soap and water. After cleaning, dry the area using a small gauze pad to
cover it. Don't let the gauze or the tube bumper become too tight against your belly.
They should be loose.
Ask your healthcare provider when you can start showering and bathing.
You should be able to gradually return to normal activities, depending on your overall
condition. Ask your healthcare provider about any activity restrictions.
Use of the PEG tube for feeding begins gradually with clear fluids and progresses
to special formula feedings.
There is a lot to learn about using and caring for a PEG tube. You will need to work
closely with your medical team. The team may include healthcare providers, pharmacists,
and nutrition specialists. You will probably be told to make sure you are always upright
when feeding. You may still be able to eat by mouth. Talk this over with your healthcare
Here are some of the other steps you need to learn:
How to care for the skin around the tube
What symptoms to look for that could mean an infection
How to empty your stomach
What to do if the tube gets blocked
What formula to use and how to feed yourself
Tell your healthcare provider right away about any of the following:
Increasing pain or pain that is not relieved by medicine
Any drainage, bleeding, redness, or swelling around the tube
Vomiting, cramping, nausea, or diarrhea
The tube comes out or becomes blocked
Before you agree to the test or procedure make sure you know:
The name of the test or procedure
The reason you are having the test or procedure
What results to expect and what they mean
The risks and benefits of the test or procedure
What the possible side effects or complications are
When and where you are to have the test or procedure
Who will do the test or procedure and what that person’s qualifications are
What would happen if you did not have the test or procedure
Any alternative tests or procedures to think about
When and how you will get the results
Who to call after the test or procedure if you have questions or problems
How much you will have to pay for the test or procedure