How Does Feeding With a G-Tube Work?


Quick Answer

A gastrostomy tube, or G-tube, supplies food, liquids and medicines to individuals who are unable to chew or swallow, according to MedlinePlus. One end of the G-tube is left inside the stomach, allowing for a direct route of delivery. Individuals are fed as nutrition formula, prescribed by a physician, is passed through the G-tube.

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Full Answer

G-tubes are placed in the abdomen surgically or percutaneously, notes the University of California at San Francisco. For surgically inserted G-tubes, a physician makes a small incision in the abdomen, inserts the G-tube into stomach and stitches the tube into position on the skin of the abdomen. Percutaneously inserted G-tubes are passed endoscopically down the esophagus and into the stomach. The tube is threaded out of the stomach through an incision in the abdomen and anchored into position by its bulb-shaped tip.

Food delivered through a G-tube is given via the syringe or gravity method, reports MedlinePlus. In the syringe method, the syringe is inserted into the clamped feeding tube and the nutrition formula is poured in until the syringe is half full. The tube is then unclamped to allow food delivery. In the gravity method, the nutrition formula drains from a food bag into the G-tube.

Feedings through a G-tube take the same amount of time as regular feedings, explains MedlinePlus. It is recommended that the G-tube be flushed with 10 to 15 cubic centimeters of water after each feeding or medication delivery.

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