What is a PEG?

PEG is a procedure in which a flexible feeding tube is placed through the abdominal wall and into the stomach. PEG allows nutrition, fluids, and/or medications to be put directly into the stomach, bypassing the mouth and esophagus.

How is a PEG performed?

Initial PEG tube insertion is done at the local hospital under intravenous sedation and local anesthesia. Your doctor will prescribe an intravenous antibiotic to be given prior to your procedure. Your doctor will insert a lighted flexible tube called an endoscope into your mouth and pass it through into your stomach. The endoscope is used to guide the creation of a small opening through the skin of the upper abdomen and directly into the stomach. The doctor is then able to place and secure a feeding tube into the stomach.

Patients can usually go home the day of the procedure or the next day.

Who can benefit from a PEG?

PEG is beneficial to patients with difficulty swallowing, appetite problems, or difficulty ingesting adequate nutrition through their mouth.

How do I care for the PEG tube?

Following the procedure, a dressing will be placed in the PEG site. This dressing can usually be removed after 1 or 2 days. Once the dressing is removed, the site should be cleaned once daily with diluted soap and water. The site will need to remain dry between cleansings. No other special dressing or covering is required.

How are feedings given? Can I still eat and drink?

Feedings using a specialized liquid nutrition and other fluids are given through the PEG tube.

It is important to discuss any form of oral intake with your physician as there may be restrictions based on why the PEG tube was necessary.

Are there complications from PEG placement?

Complications can occur with the PEG placement and can include:

  • pain at the PEG site
  • leakage of stomach contents around the tube site
  • dislodgement or malfunction of the tube.
  • infection of the PEG site
  • aspiration (inhalation of gastric contents into the lungs)
  • bleeding
  • perforation (an unwanted hole in the bowel wall

Your doctor will discuss with you any symptoms that could indicate a possible complication.

How long do these tubes last? How are they removed?

PEG tubes can last for months or years, however, due to clogging or breaking down over extended periods of time, they might need to be replaced.

PEG tube replacement can be performed in the doctor’s office unless sedation is required. Your doctor will remove the tube using firm traction and will either insert a new tube or if no replacement is needed, let the opening close. Because PEG sites close quickly, accidental dislodgement requires immediate attention.