Gastrostomy: Permanent and Temporary
by Amy Scholten, MPH
A gastrostomy makes a new path for food to enter the body. A tube is placed through the belly and into the stomach. It may only be needed until other areas heal, or it may be lasting. Gastrostomy can be done as an:
Reasons for Procedure
A gastrostomy is needed if food cannot pass through the mouth and throat. It may be needed to feed a person that has:
It may also be used to drain a buildup of acid or fluids. This may be needed with blockages such as those caused by a cancer growth.
Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:
Things that may raise the risk of problems are:
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
The surgical team may meet with you to talk about:
The doctor will give general anesthesia. You will be asleep.
Description of the Procedure
A gastrostomy may be done at the same time as another stomach surgery.
Surgery may be done in one of two ways:
Open surgery—An incision will be made through the skin and the belly wall. The last incision will be made in the stomach. A tube will then be placed through the skin and into the stomach. This tube will be stitched in place. The incision will be closed with stitches or staples. A bandage will be placed over the site.
Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG)—Uses a small incision and a scope to place the tube and connect it to the stomach. A bandage is then placed over the incision.
How Long Will It Take?
At least 1 hour for open surgery. About 20 to 30 minutes for PEG surgery.
Will It Hurt?
The area will be painful after the surgery. Medicine and home care help.
Average Hospital Stay
The usual length of stay is 1 to 2 days. If there are problems you may need to stay longer.
At the Hospital
After the procedure, the staff will:
During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to lower your risk of infection, such as:
There are also steps you can take to lower your risk of infection, such as:
Recovery takes a few weeks. Some activity may be limited at this time.
Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor if you are not getting better or any of these happen:
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American College of Gastroenterology
American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
Canadian Association of Gastroenterology
Cyrany J, Rejchrt S, et al. Buried bumper syndrome: A complication of percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy. World J Gastroenterol. 2016 Jan 14;22(2):618-27.
Gastrostomy tube (g-tube). Kids Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/g-tube.html. Accessed July 28, 2021.
Gastrostomy tube (g-tube) home care. Cincinnati Children's website. Available at:https://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/health/g/g-tube-care . Accessed July 28, 2021.
Gastrostomy tubes in adults in palliative care. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/procedure/gastrostomy-tubes-in-adults-in-palliative-care. Accessed July 28, 2021.
Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG). Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/4911-percutaneous-endoscopic-gastrostomy-peg. Accessed July 28, 2021.
Last reviewed July 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD