A percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tube provides nutrition for those who cannot consume food by swallowing. By placing a feeding tube through the abdominal wall, food, liquids and medication can be inserted straight into the stomach bypassing the mouth and oesophagus.

Why might a PEG tube be necessary?

A gastroenterologist may place a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tube for anyone unable to swallow or take in adequate nutrition through the mouth. A PEG tube may also be recommended by Dr Mbao for those with birth defects, diseases of the oesophagus, cancer of the mouth or oesophagus or conditions that affect one's ability to eat such as a stroke, terminal illness or dementia.

What does the procedure involve?

When suitable, Dr Mbao will place the feeding tube endoscopically; however, in some cases, open surgery is required for which you will be referred to a specialised surgeon.

Prior to the placement, your gastroenterologist will ensure that your stomach and bowels are empty. You will be given an anaesthetic throat spray to numb your throat for the procedure. To place the PEG tube, Dr Mbao will insert an endoscopic tube into your mouth. You will be asked to swallow the endoscope to allow it to pass through your oesophagus. Next Dr Mbao will pump air into the endoscope to inflate the stomach to get a better view on the stomach and the placement of the tube. Using the camera fitted to the endoscope, Dr Mbao will determine the best place for the tube. Your gastroenterologist will then make an incision and pull the tube through the abdominal wall and secure it in place.

Afterwards, you will need to spend a night or two in the hospital for observation before you can be discharged. Mild bloating, gas and cramping are to be expected. Your gastroenterologist and dietician will advise you on the care needed for the insertion site, the formula needed for the tube feeding and provide you with the support needed for the adjustment.