A PEG feeding tube is placed for children who are going to get G-tube feedings. If you have finally made the decision to have a tube placed, congratulations! It has likely been a long, difficult road, and chances are the decision was not one you made lightly. For many children with failure to thrive or feeding issues, the decision for a G tube is a compassionate, healthy way to help your child gain weight while working on feeding by mouth.
If you are still thinking about whether or not this is the right decision for you, check out what other parents had to say about their choice to have their children tube fed.
PEG stands for percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy. Let’s take this one word at a time. Percutaneous means a medical procedure where a needle is used to make a small hole in the skin to get to the inner organs, versus a surgery where a scalpel is used to open the skin and organs. Endoscopic means looking inside the body with an endoscope, which is a fiber optic tube with a camera. In the case of a PEG feeding tube, the endoscope is passed through the mouth, down the esophagus and into the stomach so the doctor is able to see where he wants the feeding to go and is able to put it there without cutting the patient open. Finally, gastrostomy means a surgical opening in the stomach.
Therefore, a PEG feeding tube is a feeding tube placed by putting a camera down the throat, small incisions are made in the stomach with a needle and the tube is placed using the information seen from the camera.
The actual procedure is pretty simple and painless. Since it is not open surgery the healing process is much easier than a surgically placed G tube, which is a large part of the appeal.
First, the doctor will put the endoscope in your child’s mouth, down his esophagus and into the stomach. The camera is used to help the doctor make sure he’s placing the tube in the right spot. A small incision is made in your child’s abdomen and the G tube will come out in another small hole through the skin.
After the PEG feeding tube procedure there are a few things to be aware of. In the first 24 to 48 hours post surgery, you will notice some drainage around the tube. Gauze dressings should be changed frequently to keep the site clean and dry.
Your child may be slightly uncomfortable for a few days following the PEG placement. The doctor may recommend a mild pain medication for her to relieve this.
While she is still in the hospital she will be started on tube feeds. The first schedule is usually slow, continuous drip feeds, but once she tolerates it the feeds can be changed to better fit her schedule.
A PEG feeding tube is the most popular type of feeding tube because it is safe and not considered major surgery. It’s great for kids who have trouble swallowing or simply won’t eat enough to gain weight well. G tube feeding is for children who are able to digest food through the stomach, which is the majority of children.
Although it is a difficult decision to make, many parents wish they had done it sooner. By giving your child tube feeds she is able to relax at meals and learn to enjoy food. As impossible as this seems, it does happen! Other parents report removal of the tube took much longer than they expected because the child just constantly fell back on feeds when she wouldn’t eat enough. As with everything, you need to weigh your options and speak to your medical team when considering a PEG feeding tube. If you would like to try to get your child to gain weight on her own a little longer but are out of ideas, make an appointment with us and check out these high calorie foods.