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What Is a Gastric Feeding Tube?

A gastric feeding tube is a medical apparatus that is used to assist patients who have difficult eating normally. Also called a G-tube or button, this specific kind of feeding tube is inserted via a hole in the stomach. The food then goes straight to the stomach and does not have to pass through the mouth and the esophagus. It is used for long term nutrition.

A gastric feeding tube needs to be inserted by a trained professional. The patient is first sedated and an endoscope is inserted via the mouth. This device is needed in order for the doctor to see inside the stomach clearly. A needle is then used to make an opening in the abdomen whereby the feeding tube will be inserted. Once the feeding tube is in place, the cut will be closed up.

The insertion of the gastric feeding tube can be uncomfortable and can cause minor pain, even after a few days after the procedure. Once the cut heals, however, the patient will get used to the gastric tube and can function as he normally would. A gastric feeding tube is set up so that it will stay in place for months on end, without the need for it to be replaced or cleaned.

How is a gastric feeding tube used? Commercial products are easily available for this purpose. They are mostly liquid and are formulated to prevent clogging in the tube. They are packed with the necessary nutrients. The tube has a valve, which can be opened and closed as necessary, and it is via this valve that the formula flows through - straight to the stomach.

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