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Gastrostomy

Gastrostomy

Definition

Gastrostomy is a surgical procedure for inserting a tube through the abdomen wall and into the stomach. The tube, called a "g-tube," is used for feeding or drainage.

Purpose

Gastrostomy is performed because a patient temporarily or permanently needs to be fed directly through a tube in the stomach. Reasons for feeding by gastrostomy include birth defects of the mouth, esophagus, or stomach, and neuromuscular conditions that cause people to eat very slowly due to the shape of their mouths or a weakness affecting their chewing and swallowing muscles.

Gastrostomy is also performed to provide drainage for the stomach when it is necessary to bypass a longstanding obstruction of the stomach outlet into the small intestine. Obstructions may be caused by peptic ulcer scarring or a tumor.


Demographics

In the United States, gastrostomies are more frequently performed on older persons. The procedure occurs most often in African-American populations.


Description

Gastrostomy, also called gastrostomy tube (g-tube) insertion, is surgery performed to give an external opening into the stomach. Surgery is performed either when the patient is under general anesthesiathe patient feels as if he or she is in a deep sleep and has no awareness of what is happeningor under local anesthesia. With local anesthesia, the patient is awake, but the part of the body cut during the operation is numbed.

Fitting the g-tube usually requires a short surgical operation that lasts about 30 minutes. During the surgery, a hole (stoma) about the diameter of a small pencil is cut in the skin and into the stomach; the stomach is then carefully attached to the abdominal wall. The g-tube is then fitted into the stoma. It is a special tube held in place by a disc or a water-filled balloon that has a valve inside allowing food to enter, but nothing to come out. The hole can be made using two different methods. The first uses a tube called an endoscope that has a light at the end, which is inserted into the mouth and fed down the gullet (esophagus) into the stomach. The light shines through the skin, showing the surgeon where to perform the incision. The other procedure does not use an endoscope. Instead, a small incision is made on the left side of the abdomen; an incision is then made through the stomach. A small flexible hollow tube, usually made of polyvinylchloride or rubber, is inserted into the stomach. The stomach is stitched closely around the tube, and the incision is closed.

The length of time the patient needs to remain in the hospital depends on the age of the patient and the patient's general health. In some cases, the hospital stay can be as short as one day, but often is longer. Normally, the stomach and abdomen heal in five to seven days.

The cost of the surgery varies, depending on the age and health of the patient. Younger patients are usually sicker and require more intensive, and thus more expensive, care.

Preparation

Prior to the operation, the doctor will perform an endoscopy and take x rays of the gastrointestinal tract. Blood and urine tests will also be performed, and the patient may meet with the anesthesiologist to evaluate any special conditions that might affect the administration of anesthesia.


Aftercare

Immediately after the operation, the patient is fed intravenously for at least 24 hours. Once bowel sounds are heard, indicating that the gastrointestinal system is working, the patient can begin clear liquid feedings through the tube. The size of the feedings is gradually increased.

Patient education concerning use and care of the gastrostomy tube is very important. Patients and their families are taught how to recognize and prevent infection around the tube; how to insert food through the tube; how to handle tube blockage; what to do if the tube pulls out; and what normal activities can be resumed.


Risks

There are few risks associated with this surgery. The main complications are infection, bleeding, dislodgment of the tube, stomach bloating, nausea, and diarrhea.

Gastrostomy is a relatively simple procedure. As with any surgery, however, patients are more likely to experience complications if they are smokers, obese, use alcohol heavily, or use illicit drugs. In addition, some prescription medications may increase risks associated with anesthesia.


Normal results

The patient is able to eat through the gastrostomy tube, or the stomach can be drained through the tube.


Morbidity and mortality rates

A study performed in 1998 on hospitalized Medicare beneficiaries aged 65 years or older who underwent gastrostomy revealed substantial mortality rates. The in-hospital mortality rate was 15.3%. Cerebrovascular disease, neoplasms, fluid and electrolyte disorders, and aspiration pneumonia were the most common primary diagnoses. The overall mortality rate at 30 days was 23.9%, reaching 63% at one year and 81.3% at three years.


Alternatives

There are no alternatives to a gastrostomy because the decision to perform it is made when a person is unable to take in enough calories to meet the demands of his or her body.

Resources

books

Griffith, H. Winter. Complete Guide to Symptoms, Illness, & Surgery, 3rd edition. New York: The Body Press/Perigee, 1995.

Ponsky, J. L. Techniques of Percutaneous Gastrostomy. New York: Igaku-Shoin Medical Pub., 1988.


periodicals

Angus, F., and R. Burakoff. "The Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy Tube. Medical and Ethical Issues in Placement." American Journal of Gastroenterology 98 (February 2003): 272277.

Ciotti, G., R. Holzer, M. Pozzi, and M. Dalzell. "Nutritional Support Via Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy in Children with Cardiac Disease Experiencing Difficulties with Feeding." Cardiology of the Young 12 (December 2002): 537541.

Craig, G. M., G. Scambler, and L. Spitz. "Why Parents of Children with Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Requiring Gastrostomy Feeding Need More Support." Developments in Medical Child Neurology 45 (March 2003): 183188.

Niv, Y., and G. Abuksis. "Indications for Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy Insertion: Ethical Aspects." Digestive Diseases 20 (2002): 253256.


organizations

American Gastroenterological Association (AGA). 4930 Del Ray Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20814. (301) 654-2055. <http://www.gastro.org>.

United Ostomy Association, Inc. (UOA). 19772 MacArthur Blvd., Suite 200, Irvine, CA 92612-2405. (800) 826-0826. <http://www.uoa.org>.

other

"Stomach Tube Insertion." HealthAnswers. [cited July 6, 2003]. <http://www.healthanswers.com>.


Tish Davidson, AM
Monique Laberge, PhD

WHO PERFORMS THE PROCEDURE AND WHERE IS IT PERFORMED?


The procedure is performed at a hospital or surgical clinic by a surgeon or gastroenterologist trained in endoscopy and placement of these tubes.

QUESTIONS TO ASK THE DOCTOR


  • What happens on the day of surgery?
  • What type of anesthesia will be used?
  • What happens after g-tube insertion?
  • What are the risks associated with the procedure?
  • How is the g-tube insertion done?
  • Will there be a scar?
  • Will I be able to eat normal food?
  • Will people notice that I have a g-tube?
  • Will it be there forever?

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"Gastrostomy." Gale Encyclopedia of Surgery: A Guide for Patients and Caregivers. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Gastrostomy." Gale Encyclopedia of Surgery: A Guide for Patients and Caregivers. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 19, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/gastrostomy-0

"Gastrostomy." Gale Encyclopedia of Surgery: A Guide for Patients and Caregivers. . Retrieved October 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/gastrostomy-0

Gastrostomy

Gastrostomy

Definition

Gastrostomy is a surgical procedure for inserting a tube through the abdomen wall and into the stomach. The tube is used for feeding or drainage.

Purpose

Gastrostomy is performed because a patient temporarily or permanently needs to be fed directly through a tube in the stomach. Reasons for feeding by gastrostomy include birth defects of the mouth, esophagus, or stomach, and problems sucking or swallowing.

Gastrostomy is also performed to provide drainage for the stomach when it is necessary to bypass a long-standing obstruction of the stomach outlet into the small intestine. Obstructions may be caused by peptic ulcer scarring or a tumor.

Precautions

Gastrostomy is a relatively simple procedure. As with any surgery, patients are more likely to experience complications if they are smokers, obese, use alcohol heavily, or use illicit drugs. In addition, some prescription medications may increase risks associated with anesthesia.

Description

Gastrostomy, also called gastrostomy tube insertion, is surgery performed by a general surgeon to give an external opening into the stomach. Surgery is performed either when the patient is under general anesthesia-where the patient feels as if he is in a deep sleep and has no awareness of what is happening-or under local anesthesia. With local anesthesia, the patient is awake, but the part of the body cut during the operation is numbed.

A small incision is made on the left side of the abdomen; then, an incision is made through the stomach. A small, flexible, hollow tube, usually made of polyvinylchloride or rubber, is inserted into the stomach. The stomach is stitched closed around the tube, and the incision is closed. The procedure is performed at a hospital or free-standing surgery center.

The length of time the patient needs to remain in the hospital depends on the age of the patient and the patient's general health. In some cases, the hospital stay can be as short as one day, but often is longer. Normally, the stomach and abdomen heal in five to seven days.

The cost of the surgery varies, depending on the age and health of the patient. Younger, sicker patients require more intensive, thus more expensive, care.

Preparation

Prior to the operation, the doctor will perform endoscopy and take x rays of the gastrointestinal tract. Blood and urine tests will also be performed, and the patient may meet with the anesthesiologist to evaluate any special conditions that might affect the administration of anesthesia.

Aftercare

Immediately after the operation, the patient is fed intravenously for at least 24 hours. Once bowel sounds are heard, indicating that the gastrointestinal system is working, the patient can begin clear liquid feedings through the tube. Gradually feedings are increased.

Patient education concerning use and care of the gastrostomy tube is very important. Patients and their families are taught how to recognize and prevent infection around the tube, how to feed through the tube, how to handle tube blockage, what to do if the tube pulls out, and what normal activities can be continued.

Risks

There are few risks associated with this surgery. The main complications are infection, bleeding, dislodgment of the tube, stomach bloating, nausea, and diarrhea.

Normal results

The patient is able to eat through the gastrostomy tube, or the stomach can be drained through the tube.

Resources

OTHER

"Stomach Tube Insertion." HealthAnswers.com. http://www.healthanswers.com.

KEY TERMS

Endoscopy A procedure in which an instrument containing a camera is inserted into the gastrointestinal tract so that the doctor can visually inspect the gastrointestinal system.

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"Gastrostomy." Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, 3rd ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Gastrostomy." Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, 3rd ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 19, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/gastrostomy

"Gastrostomy." Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, 3rd ed.. . Retrieved October 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/gastrostomy

gastrostomy

gastrostomy (gas-trost-ŏmi) n. a surgical procedure in which an opening is made into the stomach from the outside. It is usually performed to allow food and fluid to be poured directly into the stomach when swallowing is impossible because of disease or obstruction of the oesophagus. percutaneous endoscopic g. (PEG) gastrostomy performed using an endoscope to guide insertion of the feeding tube.

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"gastrostomy." A Dictionary of Nursing. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"gastrostomy." A Dictionary of Nursing. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 19, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/caregiving/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/gastrostomy

"gastrostomy." A Dictionary of Nursing. . Retrieved October 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/caregiving/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/gastrostomy