Some problems a patient may experience with the use of a feeding tube include the tube coming out of its placement, blockage or other problems preventing the patient from taking food through the tube, and excessive drainage around the tube site. Any of these problems necessitate contacting the patient's doctor, advises WebMD. After feeding tube insertion, the patient remains under observation for complications including bleeding or infection. For a couple days after insertion, the abdomen may be sore.
A patient may expect to have some drainage for the first day or two after the procedure, says WebMD. Sterile gauze dressing remains over the incision site until it has healed. After this, it is important to wash the area every day with soap and water. A dietitian assists in choosing an appropriate nutritional formula for the patient's needs and teaches the patient how to use and care for the feeding tube. Feeding tubes generally do not need replacement for several months, and in some cases, they last two or three years.
A feeding tube allows feeding directly into the stomach without passing through the mouth or esophagus, explains WebMD. This is necessary for people experiencing ongoing difficulty with swallowing and who are unable to take in adequate nutrition as a result. It is medically appropriate only in patients with serious medical conditions.