PEG placement, or Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy is the medical placement of a feeding tube and is ideal for patients that are having difficulty swallowing and maintaining proper nutrition. The PEG procedure is a safe and effective method for the administration of food, liquid and medicine directly into the stomach. This procedure is a less invasive procedure than others of its kind, in that it does not involve the need for a large open incision into the abdomen for the placement of the tube. Instead, the feeding tube is inserted through a minor incision and the use of a needle that is guided by an endoscope that is introduced orally. PEG placement is recommended for patients that are not able to ingest food or liquid, and are not expected to be able to consume food regularly for some time.
Unlike other procedures performed at GI Consultants the PEG placement procedure is not intended to cure a condition or directly relieve any symptoms. As a result of several different disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, many patients develop difficulty maintaining proper nutrition levels due to severe discomfort while swallowing. The PEG placement procedure is therefore recommended for patients of all ages and with a wide variety of GI diseases.
Prior to the insertion of the feeding tube, you will meet with your physician in addition to a dietician and a home care coordinator to speak about your preparation for the procedure, and readiness for life following the insertion of the tube. It is very important that you share your medical history with your physician at this time in addition to any questions or concerns that you have. It is especially important that you inform your doctor if you have a history of lung or heart disease, or if you are allergic to any medications as this may increase your risk of complications from the placement of the feeding tube. It is important that you avoid eating and drinking for eight hours leading up to your procedure.
The PEG placement procedure is conducted with the use of an endoscope, a long, thin flexible tube that has a camera and light on its tip. In order to prevent soreness and discomfort during the procedure a local anesthetic is applied to numb the throat. The endoscope is then passed through the mouth, throat and esophagus until it finally reaches the stomach to assist in the correct placement of the tube. Once in place, your physician will make a small insertion into your abdomen and will push a needle through your skin and into the stomach. The feeding tube is inserted into the stomach through this needle, and the protruding part of the tube is tied in place on the skin. Many patients are able to return home the day of their procedure.
Like any other operation, the PEG procedure does come with risk of complications. For this reason it is very important that you only have your feeding tube inserted by an experienced and specialized physician. Complications of the PEG placement procedure include:
- Infection at the site of the incision
- Dislodgement of the feeding tube