Enteral nutrition consists of feeding a patient through a tube. The tube can be placed in the patient's nose, through his stomach or his small intestine. Enteral nutrition is given to a patient who cannot swallow or cannot get the needed amount of nutrition by mouth.
A tube inserted into the patient's nose is known as a nasoenteral or nasogastric tube, while a tube inserted into the small intestine is called a jejunostomy. A tube placed into the patient's stomach is known as a gastrostomy.
Placing a gastrostomy or jejunostomy is done through procedures called percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy or percutaneous endoscopic jejunostomy. Though they are forms of surgery, they do not need to be done in an operating room.