What is a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG)?
A percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) is a procedure to place a feeding tube through your skin and into your stomach to give you the nutrients and fluids you need (see figure 1).
Are there any alternatives to a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG)?
It is possible to be given nutrients and fluids through a nasogastric tube. The feeding tube can be placed directly into your stomach by an operation. It is also possible to be given nutrients and fluids directly into your bloodstream (total parenteral nutrition).
What does the procedure involve?
If appropriate, the endoscopist may offer you a sedative to help you relax.
A PEG usually takes between fifteen and twenty minutes. It involves placing a flexible telescope (endoscope) into the back of your throat and down into your stomach. The endoscopist will use the endoscope to guide them while they insert the feeding tube.
The endoscopist will make a small cut in your abdominal wall. They will pull the tube down into your stomach and then bring it out of your stomach and through the hole in your abdominal wall. The tube has a bolster that sits inside your stomach and helps to prevent it from coming out.
What complications can happen?
- Chest infection
- Blocked tube
- Damage to the liver or intestine
- Buried internal bolster
- Allergic reaction
- Breathing difficulties or heart irregularities
- Making a hole in the oesophagus or stomach
- Damage to teeth or bridgework
How soon will I recover?
If you were given sedation, you will normally recover in about an hour. You may feel a bit bloated for a few hours but this will pass.
You should be able to return to your normal activities after one to two weeks.
A PEG is usually a safe and effective way of allowing you to get the nutrients and fluids you need.
Author: Dr Kathy Teahon MD FRCP
Illustrations: LifeART image copyright 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. All rights reserved.
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