To insert a gastrostomy feeding tube, a doctor uses an endoscope to view the stomach of an anesthetized patient as he lies on his back, according to Healthline. He then makes an incision in the patient's abdomen and inserts the feeding tube.
Before the procedure, the patient removes his dentures, if he has them, explains MedlinePlus. Then the doctor sprays his mouth with a medication to suppress his gag reflex. The doctor also gives the patient a mouth guard.
The doctor threads the endoscope into the patient's mouth, down the esophagus and finally into the stomach, notes Healthline. The instrument helps the doctor position the feeding tube correctly. When the doctor can see the patient's stomach through the endoscope, he makes the incision in the abdomen. He secures the feeding tube with stitches and places a sterile dressing around it. The procedure takes about an hour.
The incision takes about a week to heal and may drain for a few days, reports Healthline. A dietician instructs the patient on how to use the tube, and a nurse changes the dressings regularly. A medical professional also teaches the patient and his caregivers how to take care of the skin around the tube, what to do if the tube pulls out or becomes blocked, and what sort of activities the patient can return to after the surgery, explains MedlinePlus.
The patient receives clear liquids at first, and then he ingests more substantial fare as time goes on, according to MedlinePlus.