Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) places a tube through the abdominal wall and into the stomach.
This provides an alternative feeding site. It may be needed to:
- Feed a person who has a hard time sucking or swallowing, or who is otherwise unable to eat
- Drain fluids from the stomach
Possible complications may include:
- PEG tube malfunction
- Aspiration — accidental sucking into the airways of fluid, food or any foreign material
- Damage to other organs
- Inflammation of the lining of the abdomen
- Irritation of the skin near the tube
- An abnormal opening called a fistula
During the PEG Procedure
The doctor will give you a numbing throat spray, pain medication and a sedative to address any discomfort or anxiety you experience.
Placing the PEG
The PEG insertion process takes 30-45 minutes.
The doctor will use an endoscope, inserted through your mouth and down into your stomach, to find the right spot to insert the PEG feeding tube.
At the chosen spot, the doctor will insert a needle with a wire. The doctor will use the endoscope to find the needle and pull the wire up and out through your mouth. The doctor will use the wire to pull the PEG feeding tube down into your body until the tip comes out of an incision your doctor will make in your abdomen.
The doctor will secure the end of the PEG tube with a soft, round bumper and tape it to your abdomen.
After the PEG Procedure
Follow your doctor’s instructions, making sure to elevate your legs to avoid blood clots.
Feeding Through the PEG Tube
You will receive fluids through an IV for a day or two. Then, you will start to get clear liquids through the PEG tube. If this works well, you will start a formula feed through the tube.
A dietitian will teach you how to use your PEG tube. You will also be taught how to choose an appropriate tube-feeding formula.
Remain upright for 30-60 minutes after eating.
Proper Care of Your PEG Tube
Change the sterile gauze pads around the incision site regularly. Wash the PEG tube and the skin around it regularly to avoid infection.
Learn how to empty your stomach through the tube.
Learn how to recognize and handle problems like a blocked tube or a tube that falls out of place.
Tape the tube site when it is not in use to prevent it from moving.
Cause for Concern
Call the doctor if you experience:
- Uncontrollable pain
- The tube falls out
- Problems with the function of the tube or drainage around the tube
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding or discharge from the incision site
- Headaches, muscle aches, lightheadedness or general ill feeling
- Nausea, vomiting, constipation or abdominal swelling
In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.
Content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library. Edits to original content made by Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice.