Gastrostomy Tube

To ensure your child gets important fluid and calories, your doctor may suggest a gastrostomy tube (or G-tube), a feeding tube that delivers nutrition directly to the stomach.

Remarkable care for kids

  • Comprehensive G-tube care: A multidisciplinary team of pediatric gastroenterologistspediatric surgeons and dietitians at Rush University Children’s Hospital will work with your child, you and each other to manage your child’s nutritional needs with a gastrostomy tube (or G-tube). Specialists at Rush also provide care and management of nasogastric feeding tubes.
  • Family-centered care: As part of Rush University Children’s Hospital, pediatric gastroenterologists and pediatric surgeons are dedicated to family-centered care. They believe your family should play an integral role in determining the best care plan to address your child’s unique needs and lifestyle.
  • Care close to home: Pediatric gastroenterologists and pediatric surgeons from Rush University Children’s Hospital are available to see patients at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and Rush Copley Medical Center in Aurora. Pediatric gastroenterologists are also available to see patients at Rush Oak Park Hospital.

What is a G-tube?

A G-tube can help your child get the nutrition they need if they are unable to due to any of these reasons:

  • Problems affecting their digestive system that they were born with, such as short bowel syndrome
  • Swallowing or feeding disorders
  • Failure to thrive or problems gaining weight

A G-tube can be permanent or temporary, depending on your child’s condition. (Nasogastric tubes are another type of feeding tube.)

Types of G-tube procedures for children

There are several ways doctors at Rush University Children’s Hospital can insert a gastrostomy tube. You and your child’s pediatric gastroenterologist or pediatric surgeon will discuss what approach is best for your child.

  • Percutaneous endoscopy gastrostomy (PEG): Doctors use a thin, flexible tube with a light and camera (an endoscope) to insert the G-tube through the mouth and into the stomach.
  • Laparoscopy: A pediatric surgeon makes several small abdominal incisions and use these to insert a telescope to help them see as well as to place the G-tube itself.
  • Open surgery: Doctors often use this approach when other options aren’t possible due to your child’s anatomy or illness. Or, they may insert the G-tube at the time of another surgical procedure.

Children receive general anesthesia prior to the procedure. The procedures typically take about 30 to 45 minutes, and your child will need to be hospitalized for two to three days. 

After the procedure

Before leaving Rush University Children’s Hospital, the team caring for your child will teach you how to feed your child using the G-tube. They will also show you how to care for the G-tube to avoid infection or other problems.

Your child’s care team will work closely with you to monitor your child’s progress and growth with the G-tube with follow-up appointments and constant communication.