A gastrostomy is a passage created surgically from the stomach to the exterior of the abdomen. A tube is inserted so individuals can be fed directly into the stomach, bypassing the mouth and oesophagus. There are a variety of different feeding tubes available and the type of tube inserted will be patient specific. The passage is created under general anaesthetic.
Post operatively the wound site may ooze and appear swollen and red, however this should settle within a few days. The skin around the gastrostomy site should be cleaned daily with cool boiled water. Care of the tube varies depending on the type of tube inserted
- A PEG tube e.g. Freka™/CorFlo™ is held in place internally by a plastic disc and externally by a fixing plate. This should not be moved for the first 6 weeks after the tube is first inserted but after can be released/tightened for comfort (eg if the abdomen is bloated) and will need to be readjusted weekly to prevent the plastic disc from becoming stuck in the stomach lining.
- A button e.g. Mic-key™/ Mini™ is held in place internally by a small balloon sitting in the stomach. This tube only requires gentle cleaning around the site and the tube should be rotated a few weeks post insertion to avoid granulation and pressure areas. The water in the balloon is replaced regularly.
- There are other less common tubes which have a different internal and external appearance. These may have extensions into the small bowel or different ways of being held in place internally e.g. PEG-J™/ Mic-J™/Mic G™/ Malecot®.
Look out for signs of persistent redness, swelling, granulated tissue around the site, pain around the site or when using the tube, discharge from the site or leaking of gastric contents. If any of these occur, or the tube is displaced, medical attention is required.