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PEG feeding tube

Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy can help deliver nutrients and fluids if you are unable to eat and drink

Man requiring a PEG feeding tube holds his stomach
If you or a loved one are unable to eat or drink, a PEG (percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy) feeding tube could be the solution you need. This is a flexible tube that travels through the abdominal wall directly into the stomach, allowing for safe and effective feeding so that you can get the nutrients and fluids you need if, for example, you cannot swallow.

A PEG tube can be a temporary solution or a permanent one, though if you need one permanently it will need to be replaced every year or so.

The tube is inserted during a procedure called an endoscopy. This is a quick and minimally invasive technique that allows us to see inside your stomach and identify the best place to insert the feeding tube. A small incision is then made into your abdominal wall, through which we insert the tube so that it can be used to deliver sustenance and medications straight into your stomach.

Contact us today to book a private consultation with one of our specialists and find out if a PEG feeding tube could help you. Call or book online and you could have your initial consultation within 48 hours.

A PEG feeding tube is used to help people get the fluids and nutrients they need, and to take medications, when they are unable to eat or drink. This is often because you are unable to swallow, but can also be caused by a variety of other conditions, including problems with the oesophagus. If food and drink can't reach your stomach through your mouth, a PEG tube offers an alternative entry.

Common conditions that can lead to problems with eating, drinking and swallowing include:

  • Cancer
  • Dementia
  • Stroke
  • Neurological disorders
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Head and neck trauma
  • Chronic renal failure
  • Cystic fibrosis

Symptoms that indicate the need for a PEG feeding tube or similar include:

  • Difficulty swallowing or chewing
  • Weight loss or malnutrition
  • Chronic dehydration

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to speak to a healthcare professional. They can help you find the right treatment for you.

During your initial consultation, our specialist consultant will take the time to understand your symptoms and medical history, and what you are looking to gain from treatment. To determine if a PEG feeding tube is the best option for you, we may need to perform tests or scans to diagnose the underlying condition. This will allow us to develop a tailored treatment plan that suits your unique needs.

We will take the time to talk you through all the available treatment options, as well as which ones we recommend and why. We understand that this may be an overwhelming time, but we want you to know that you're not alone. We're here to support you every step of the way and ensure that you receive the best possible treatment.

Once we have decided on the best treatment for your personal circumstances, we can get you booked in without delay.

A PEG feeding tube insertion usually takes between 20 to 30 minutes to complete. During the procedure, a local anaesthetic will be used to numb the skin and muscles in your abdomen. If you prefer, you can discuss the option of sedation with your consultant.

First, your consultant will use an endoscope, which is a long, thin, flexible tube with a camera and light at the end, to visualise the inside of your stomach. This will help them to determine the best location for the tube.

Next, a small incision is made on the skin of your abdomen, and a needle is inserted through the incision into your stomach. The end of a guidewire is passed through the needle and then grasped by an instrument through the endoscope in your stomach.

The guidewire is then pulled out of the endoscope and attached to the feeding tube. The PEG feeding tube is then gently pulled through the incision and into your stomach, and the external end of the tube is secured to your skin with a special device.

Recovering from a PEG feeding tube insertion

After the procedure, you will need to stay in the hospital for a few hours for observation. You may experience some discomfort, swelling or bruising around the site of the tube, but this should improve within a few days. Your consultant will provide you with specific instructions for caring for your tube, including how to keep the area clean and when to flush the tube with water.

As with any medical procedure, there are risks and potential complications associated with PEG feeding tube insertion. Some of these include:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Perforation of the bowel or stomach
  • Dislodgement of the tube
  • Blockage of the tube
  • Skin irritation or breakdown around the site of the tube

Endoscopy is considered a very safe and successful type of treatment and the risk of complications is low. Your consultant will explain everything in detail so that you can make a fully informed decision before agreeing to have the procedure.

We answer some of your most commonly asked questions about percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy.

Can a PEG feeding tube be removed?

Removing a PEG feeding tube is typically a straightforward procedure that can be done in an outpatient setting. Your consultant will discuss the appropriate time to remove the PEG tube with you.

How do you feed through a PEG tube?

Feeding through a PEG tube involves using a feeding syringe to slowly deliver liquid nutrition directly into the stomach. Your care team will give you instructions on how to administer feedings and how often to do so.

How does a PEG feeding tube work?

A PEG feeding tube is a small tube that is inserted directly into the stomach through the abdominal wall. It allows for the delivery of liquid nutrition and medication directly into the stomach, bypassing the mouth and throat.

How to check PEG tube placement before feeding?

To check PEG tube placement before feeding, your consultant or endoscopist will use an x-ray or other imaging technique to confirm that the tube is in the correct position within the stomach.

How to clean a PEG feeding tube?

Cleaning a PEG feeding tube involves using a specially designed cleaning solution and a sterile technique to prevent infection. Your care team will give you detailed instructions on how to clean the tube and how often to do so to ensure its proper function and longevity.

When you choose to go private with Circle Health Group, you can expect:

  • Flexible appointment times and locations to fit your routine
  • The freedom to choose which hospital and consultant suit your needs
  • Personalised, consultant-led treatment plans tailored to your individual needs
  • Comfortable and safe private facilities maintained by expert multidisciplinary teams
  • Private ensuite rooms as standard and delicious healthy meals
  • Affordable, fixed-price packages with aftercare included
  • Flexible payment options to help you spread the cost of your care

If you would like to learn more about PEG feeding tubes and other related treatments, book your appointment online today or call a member of our team directly.

Content reviewed by Circle in-house team in March 2023. Next review due March 2026.

  1. Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy (PEG), Cleveland Clinic
  2. PEG Feeding Tubes, Patient
  3. PEG feeding, Ramsay Health Care
  4. Types of tube feeding, Cancer Research UK
  5. Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tubes – in children, NHS Cambridge University Hospitals

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