Gastrostomy: Permanent and Temporary

Definition

This is surgery to place a tube through the abdomen and into the stomach. Gastrostomy can be done as:

Reasons for Procedure

A gastrostomy tube provides an alternative feeding site. It may be needed to:
  • Feed a person who has a hard time swallowing, has appetite problems, or is otherwise unable to eat
  • Drain the stomach of acid and fluids that have built up due to gastrointestinal problems, such as bowel obstruction due to cancer
Gastric Tube
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Possible Complications

If you are planning to have gastrostomy, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Aspiration—accidental sucking into the airways of fluid, food, or any foreign material
  • Damage to other organs
  • Anesthesia-related problems
  • Skin irritation around the tube
  • Dislodging or malfunctioning of the tube
  • Diarrhea
Complications are more common in older adults. Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
  • Obesity or diabetes
  • Smoking, alcohol abuse , or drug use
  • Use of certain prescription medications
  • Prior abdominal surgeries
Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor before the surgery.

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