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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is a gastrostomy tube (G-tube)?
A gastrostomy tube is a small tube that passes through the skin and abdominal wall into the stomach. It is also called a G-tube. This tube may be used for feeding and/or venting of the stomach. A G-tube is a safe way to feed your child because it stays in place all the time. It is clamped (closed off) when it is not being used. Some children may be able to eat by mouth and use the G-tube only when needed. Other children can only be fed through the tube. This all depends on the reason for your child’s G-tube.
Why does my child need a G-tube?
A G-tube can be used for many reasons. It may be needed because your child:
- Cannot take enough food by mouth to grow and develop
- Has a hard time sucking, swallowing or eating
- Has a problem with reflux, or has metabolic or breathing
How is the G-tube put in?
A G-tube is inserted in the operating room or in radiology (x-ray). The tube is put in through the abdominal wall or placed down the throat. It is then guided into the stomach. All G-tubes have either a balloon or bumper shape on the end, which is placed inside the stomach. This balloon or bumper must always be pulled snug up against the abdominal wall to hold the tube in place. This will prevent stomach juices or digested food from leaking out of the stomach through the gastrostomy tract. Over time, a tract (tunnel) will heal from the outside of the abdomen to the inside of the stomach. Once the tract is healed, your child’s G-tube may be changed to a different type of tube.
Will the G-tube have to stay in forever?
This will depend on the reason for your child’s G-tube. It may be needed forever. It may be temporary until:
- Your child can eat enough food by mouth to grow
- Your child’s medical problem can be corrected