PEG feeding

Peg feeding is a procedure to place a flexible feeding tube through your abdominal wall and into your stomach. It allows nutrition, fluids and/or medications to directly reach your stomach and bypass your mouth and oesophagus.

What is PEG feeding?

PEG feeding gives food, fluids and medicines directly into your stomach by way of a thin tube that runs through your skin and into your stomach.

PEG stands for percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy:

  • Percutaneous - means through your skin
  • Endoscopic - a long, thin and flexible tube (endoscope) is used to position the PEG feeding tube in your stomach.
  • Gastrostomy – is the making of an opening in your stomach.

PEG feeding is when a flexible endoscope is used to guide the placement of a feeding tube through a small opening in your upper abdomen skin to your stomach. This procedure may be performed using a sedative and /or local anaesthetic.

The PEG feeding tube has a small plastic disc inside your stomach and on top of your skin where the tube is inserted to prevent the tube from coming out or the whole tube from ending up in your stomach.

How do you PEG feed a patient?

A PEG tube is easy to use. A caregiver or patient can learn to care for it and give tube feedings.

After the tube is placed, a dietitian will assess your nutritional needs including the number of calories and the amount of protein and fluids that you should take. They will then advise you on a nutritional formula and how much to take each day.

This liquid formula should provide all the nutrients you need. Some people may still eat and drink small amounts through their mouths. Other fluids and liquid medicines, can also be put through the PEG tube. Do not put pills into your PEG tube.

You should wash your hands before handling the tube and formula. Ensure the patient is sitting up during and for 60 minutes after feeding to minimise the risk of regurgitation and aspiration. You should administer the food in the tube slowly to prevent complications from occurring.

What are the risks of PEG feeding?

Most people don't have any problems with their PEG feeding. Your individual risk of PEG feeding will be discussed with you by your doctor. They will tell you when you need to seek help. Risks can be minimised by cleaning your PEG tube each day.

Potential risks can include:

  • Infection near the incision
  • Bleeding and a hole in your bowel or intestine wall
  • Aspiration where you accidentally inhale your stomach contents
  • Accidental tube dislodgement moving your tube out of place or coming out
  • Stomach leakage around the tube
  • Pain near the PEG tube.

Why do people PEG feed?

People PEG feed if they have difficulty swallowing, problems with their appetite, or an inability to take adequate nutrition through their mouth.

Conditions, when you may benefit from PEG feeding, include:

  • Brain injury or stroke
  • Bowel, head and neck cancer or surgery
  • Oesophagus problems
  • Chronic appetite loss due to severe illnesses like cancer
  • Neurological illnesses such as multiple sclerosis or motor neurone disease
  • Cystic fibrosis and kidney failure
  • Crohn’s diseases
  • Severe burns
  • In a coma

Patients who are tube feeding over a long period of time find PEG feeding tubes more comfortable and easier to use than a tube passed through their nose and into their stomach. Also, patients can hide the PEG feeding tubes under their clothes for privacy.

What are the costs of peg feeding?

The cost of a peg feeding procedure will depend on your Ramsay hospital of choice.

You will receive a formal quotation price for your peg feeding procedure following a consultation with one of our expert endoscopists. This formal quote for your surgery will be valid for 60 days.

Ramsay is recognised by all major medical insurers. Peg feeding procedures are covered by most medical insurance policies. We advise you to obtain written authorisation from your insurance provider before your procedure.

We have a number of finance options if you are paying for your PEG feeding tube insertion yourself. These include interest-free finance with no deposit and monthly instalments at 0% interest, all-inclusive Total Care where you make a one-off payment at a pre-agreed price or pay as you go that offers a flexible funding option.

What is the recovery process after a peg feeding?

After a peg feeding procedure patients can usually go home the same or the next day.

You may feel some pain for 24 to 48 hours after your gastrostomy. The pain may be from the cut or in the form of cramping due to gas build-up in your digestive system. Your doctor will give you pain medicine for this.

You will have a bandage over the incision site. You may see some yellowish mucus around the incision. This is normal. You can remove the bandage after one to two days.

Peg feeding at Ramsay Health Care

Peg feeding insertion is performed by our experienced endoscopists who offer convenient appointments without waiting. They are supported by dieticians and an expert healthcare team to provide you with all the support you need with your peg feeding tube. This includes ensuring you receive all the nutrients your body requires.

Many Ramsay hospitals have dedicated state-of-the-art endoscopy suites with the latest technology and JAG accreditation for high-quality endoscopy services to smoothly and expertly place your PEG tube.

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