What Is a PEG Tube?


Quick Answer

A PEG, or percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy, tube is used to safely and effectively provide food, liquids or medications directly into the stomach, according to Cleveland Clinic. The tube is used on patients who have difficulty swallowing since the tube bypasses the mouth and esophagus.

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What Is a PEG Tube?
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Full Answer

During the procedure to place the tube, the doctor uses an endoscope, or a lighted, flexible tube, to form a small opening through the skin of the upper abdomen. A flexible feeding tube is inserted through the abdominal wall and into the stomach. The PEG tube sits in the stomach. Patients are given local anesthesia and an intravenous sedative and antibiotic. Patients can go home the same day of the surgery or the next day, notes the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. A dressing is placed on the PEG site and is removed after one or two days. Special liquid nutrition and fluids are given through the PEG tube, and there may be restrictions on oral intake depending on the reason for the PEG procedure.

Patients taking some medications, such as warfarin and dipyridamole, can create complications during surgery since these medicines thin the blood. Patients are advised not to take aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs within one week of their surgery, according to Cleveland Clinic. Patients may feel minor soreness in their abdomen after the procedure, and PEG tubes generally do not need to be replaced for several months.

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