Skip to content
Font Size

Feeding Tube Placement

If a person is having ongoing and serious trouble swallowing and can't get enough food or liquids by mouth, a feeding tube may be put directly into the stomach through the abdominal skin. This procedure is called a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG). The tube allows feeding directly into the gastrointestinal tract to occur by bypassing the mouth and esophagus (the “food tube” leading to the stomach).

Placing a feeding tube is a relatively simple surgery, but it is only recommended for complex conditions. Unfortunately, feeding tubes have not helped in every condition; PEG tubes have not lengthened life nor its quality in persons who are nearing death from terminal dementia or terminal cancer.

Recommended Related to Digestive Disorders

Picture of the Esophagus

Read the Picture of the Esophagus article > >

What Happens During the Feeding Tube Placement?

Your doctor will probably tell you not to eat or drink anything for 8 hours before getting a feeding tube put in.

When you arrive for the procedure, you will be asked to wear a hospital gown and remove eyeglasses and dentures, if you use either.

You will be given a pain reliever, sedative, and antibiotic through your vein (IV) before the procedure. You will also be given a local anesthetic (pain-relieving medication) at the site where the PEG tube is placed during the procedure.

During the procedure, the doctor will insert an endoscope through your mouth and into the stomach. Through a camera on the endoscope, the doctor will view the stomach lining to determine the PEG tube insertion site. A small incision will be made in the abdominal wall to insert the feeding tube.

The procedure takes between 30 to 45 minutes to complete.

What Happens After Getting a Feeding Tube?

Immediately following the placement of a feeding tube, you will be watched closely for any complications, such as an infection or bleeding.

The PEG tube will be secured to your abdomen with tape. You should expect to see some drainage around the PEG tube for the first 24 to 48 hours. A sterile gauze dressing will be placed around the incision. Your nurse will change the dressing as needed. Once the dressing has been removed and the area has healed, be sure to wash the area daily with soap and water.

Today on WebMD

man holding his stomach
Get the facts on common problems.
blueberries in a palm
Best and worst foods.
woman shopping
Learn what foods to avoid.
fresh and dried plums
Will it help constipation?
top foods for probiotics
couple eating at cafe
sick child
Woman blowing bubble gum

Send yourself a link to download the app.

Loading ...

Please wait...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Woman with crohns in pain
Woman with stomach pain
diet for diverticulitis
what causes diarrhea