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Treatment / Gastrostomy / Jejeunostomy Tube Placement / Removal

Gastrostomy / Jejeunostomy Tube Placement / Removal

Enteral feeding is the delivery of a nutritionally complete feed, containing protein, carbohydrate, fat, water, minerals and vitamins, directly into the stomach, dudodenum or jejunum.

Tube feeding plays a major role in the management of patients with poor voluntary intake, chronic neurological or mechanical dysphagia or gut dysfunction and in patients who are critically ill.

Am I a Candidate for a Feeding Tube?

Home enteral feeding should be considered for malnourished patients or in those at risk for malnutrition who have a functional gastrointestinal tract but are not able to maintain adequate or safe oral intake. The most common patients are those who suffer from the following:

  • Neurological impairment resulting in absent gag reflex or disorders of swallowing
  • Esophageal malignancy
  • Head and neck malignancy
  • Intestinal malabsorption secondary to small bowel pathology such as Crohn disease, radiation enteritis, and scleroderma
  • Psychological ailments such as eating disorders or profound depression

Short term access is typically achieved using nasogastric (NG) or nasojejunal (NJ) tubes at an initial continuous feeding rate of 30 mls per hour. Percutaneous placement should be considered if feeding is planned for longer than one month.

What to Expect from the Procedure

When you come in for your procedure you will either have local anesthesia with sedation, or general anesthesia – whatever you and your vascular and interventional radiologist (VIR) have discussed. You will be asked not to eat or drink anything for at least 6 hours prior to the procedure.

The doctor will look at your belly with ultrasound and x-ray images to identify the best place for your feeding tube. Your stomach will be filled with air to expand it and assist in the procedure. The IR will numb your skin and place 2-3 special clips to fasten the stomach up against the abdominal wall; these can be removed 7 – 10 days after the treatment.

Finally, the tube will be inserted directly through the skin and into the stomach. An inflated balloon on the end of the tube will help keep it in place.

A gastrostomy tube allows for feeding directly into the stomach, however this does not work for all patients, and in some cases placing a longer tube through the stomach and into the intestine is a better option.


Feeding tube placement/removal is typically performed as an outpatient procedure and lasts less than an hour. After your treatment you will rest in a recovery area for a while before you are sent home. The nurse will instruct you on how to use and care for your feeding tube. You will be able to start using the tube a day or so after your procedure.

Care Instructions

  • Always keep the skin around the tube clean and dry
  • Avoid playing with or yanking on the tube
  • Flush the tube well after each use
  • Only put liquids into your feeding tube
  • Routine tube exchanges should be done every 3-6 months

While this procedure is safe and effective, in some cases there are complications. Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following:

  • The tube comes out or gets clogged
  • Pain or swelling around the tube
  • Fever, vomiting or nausea
  • Abdominal pain or stiffness


Some patients get better and do not need their feeding tube anymore. Once your doctor determines it is safe to remove the tube you will be scheduled for a quick removal procedure.

Removing the tube is simple and relatively painless. The doctor will deflate the balloon holding the tube in place. Once the tube is removed safely, a dressing will be placed over the hold because it may leak a bit at first. The hole will heal on its own over time.

Whether or not you are a candidate for a feeding tube will depend on your diagnosis and consultation with your interventional radiologist. Call IVC today at 503-612-0498 to schedule an appointment for a consultation.

* This information about Gastrostomy was reviewed by Dr. Jason R. Bauer. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us using the form below.

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We are announcing that Interventional and Vascular Consultants will be closing as of March 10, 2023.

We would like to thank you for the trust you have given us over the years, participating in your healthcare needs has been a privilege.

To assist in a smooth transition to a new provider, you may access your records from your MyHealth account or request a copy of medical records by clicking the link below and completing the Release of Information form.

Medical Records Release Form

Please know that we have greatly valued our relationship with you and wish you the best.


Jason Bauer, MD RVT
Michael Pfister, MD RVT

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