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What is Gastrostomy? Print E-mail
Written by Glenn Rosenberg   
Sunday, 18 October 2009
A gastrostomy is surgery to insert a tube through the abdomen into the stomach. This tube is most often used for feeding. It may also be used to keep the stomach empty.
Who is a candidate for the procedure?

A gastrostomy tube is usually placed in the body when a person is unable to take in enough calories to meet the demands of his or her body. It may be used for long-term nutritional support. Reasons a gastrostomy might be performed include:
# esophageal atresia, an incomplete development of the esophagus
# esophageal stricture, or narrowing
# esophageal cancer
# swallowing disorders, such as those that develop after a stroke
# a premature infant with a poor sucking and swallowing effort
# emptying of the stomach after surgery when a nasogastric tube, or tube placed into the stomach through the nose, is not tolerated

How is the procedure performed?

Some people who have this surgery are given general anesthesia so that they are asleep when the gastrostomy tube is inserted. Other people may be given a local anesthesia. This means that the area of the surgery is numbed with medication. Although the person is awake, he or she should feel no pain during the procedure.

To insert the gastrostomy tube, the surgeon will make a small cut on the side of the abdomen and into the stomach. A small catheter with a balloon on the end of it is inserted through the cut. The balloon is inflated to keep it in place in the stomach. The tube, which is made of polyvinylchloride or rubber, is then sutured to the skin.

Sometimes a different procedure, called a percutaneus endoscopic gastrostomy or PEG, is performed. A lighted scope is passed down the throat and through the esophagus. The scope is advanced into the stomach. The light shows the surgeon where to make the incision in the skin and stomach. The tube is placed through the incision. The balloon is inflated and the tube is sutured to the skin.


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