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Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy: Before Your Child's Procedure

What is percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy?

Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy is a procedure to make an opening between the skin of your child's belly and stomach. The doctor will put a thin tube called a gastrostomy tube into your child's stomach through the opening. This tube is sometimes called a G-tube, a PEG tube, or a feeding tube. The tube can put liquid nutrition, fluid, and medicines directly into the stomach. The tube also may be used to drain liquid or air from the stomach.

Your child will get medicine to go to sleep and prevent pain during the procedure. The doctor will put a thin, lighted tube that bends (called an endoscope, or scope) into your child's mouth. The doctor will move the scope gently down your child's throat. The scope will have a camera on it. The doctor will look at a monitor (like a TV set or a computer screen) as he or she moves the scope into your child's stomach. The doctor will send puffs of air through the scope. This inflates the stomach. It helps the doctor see where to place the feeding tube.

The doctor will make a small cut in your child's belly. The cut is called an incision. The doctor will put the feeding tube into your child's mouth. Then he or she will guide the tube down your child's throat into the stomach. The doctor will pull one end of the feeding tube out of your child's belly through the incision. This end of the feeding tube will stay outside your child's body. The other end will stay in the stomach. The doctor may use stitches to close the incision around the feeding tube.

Your child will go home the same day as the procedure. Before you take your child home, the doctor or nurse will teach you how to use and care for the feeding tube.

What happens before the procedure?

Procedures can be stressful for both your child and you. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your child's procedure.

Preparing for the procedure

  • Understand exactly what procedure is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
  • Tell the doctor ALL the medicines and natural health products your child takes. Some may increase the risk of problems during the procedure. Your doctor will tell you if your child should stop taking any of them before the procedure and how soon to do it.
  • Talk to your child about the procedure. Tell your child that it will help him or her get the food, liquids, and medicines needed to stay healthy. Hospitals know how to take care of children. The staff will do all they can to make it easier for your child.
  • Ask if a special tour of the surgery area and hospital is available. This may make your child feel less nervous about what happens.
  • Plan for your child's recovery time. He or she may need more of your time right after the procedure, both for care and for comfort.

The day before the procedure

  • A nurse may call you (or you may need to call the hospital). This is to confirm the time and date of your child's procedure and answer any questions.
  • Remember to follow your doctor's instructions about your child taking or stopping medicines before the procedure. This includes over-the-counter medicines.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

What happens on the day of the procedure?

  • Follow the instructions exactly about when your child should stop eating and drinking. If you don't, the procedure may be cancelled. If your doctor told you to have your child take his or her medicines on the day of the procedure, have your child take them with only a sip of water.
  • Follow the doctor's instructions about when your child should bathe or shower before the procedure. Do not apply lotion or deodorant.
  • Your child may brush his or her teeth. But tell your child not to swallow any toothpaste or water.
  • Do not let your child wear contact lenses. Bring your child's glasses or contact lens case.
  • Be sure your child has something that reminds him or her of home. A special stuffed animal, toy, or blanket may be comforting. For an older child, it might be a book or music.

At the hospital or surgery centre

  • A parent or legal guardian must accompany your child.
  • Your child will be kept comfortable and safe by the anesthesia provider. Your child will be asleep during the procedure.
  • The procedure will take about 30 to 45 minutes.
  • After the procedure, your child will be taken to the recovery room. As your child wakes up, the recovery staff will monitor his or her condition. The doctor will talk to you about the procedure.
  • You will probably be able to take your child home on the day of the procedure or the day after.

When should you call your doctor?

  • You have questions or concerns.
  • You don't understand how to prepare your child for the procedure.
  • Your child becomes ill before the procedure (such as fever, flu, or a cold).
  • You need to reschedule or have changed your mind about your child having the procedure.

Where can you learn more?

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.