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What is a Feeding Tube?
Your healthcare provider has requested that you undergo placement of a feeding tube into your stomach and/or intestines. These tubes are also known as gastrostomy (G-tube), gastrojejunostomy (GJ-tube) and jejunostomy (J-tube) tubes. These tubes are typically used for giving liquid food and medications directly into the stomach or small bowel. In some situations they are also used to decompress the stomach if food or liquids are trapped.
How Should I Prepare?
You should not eat or drink anything for six hours prior to your procedure. You may take your medications as directed. Speak to your doctor if you need to adjust your insulin dosing. Prior to your procedure, you should make sure all medications and allergies are updated. If you are on a blood thinner you may be requested to stop that medication for a period of time. You will usually be kept in the hospital overnight for observation.
How is the Procedure Performed?
The procedure will be performed by an interventional radiologist, who is a physician with specific training in image-guided procedures. Before the procedure, a small tube will be inserted through the nose and into the stomach. Air will be passed through this tube to inflate the stomach. Intravenous medications may also be given to make you feel more comfortable and relaxed. This is called conscious sedation.
After numbing medicine has been injected, a needle will be placed through the skin and into your stomach and/or small intestine. The needle will be guided towards the correct location using imaging guidance (x-rays). The feeding tube will then be placed in the desired area. One or two special sutures may be placed, called T-tacks. T-tacks hold the stomach toward the abdominal wall and can be removed in 5-10 days by any qualified healthcare provider. You may also note an external suture around the tube to help keep it in position.
What Should I Expect After the Procedure?
Following the procedure, you will usually be monitored overnight in the hospital. The feeding tube will be cleared and ready for use within 24 hours.