Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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PEG Tubes Overview

What is a PEG tube?
When an illness or injury prevents a person from eating or swallowing, a feeding tube may be used to provide nutrition. For short-term therapy, a feeding tube may be inserted through the nose, down the esophagus, and into the stomach. However, for long-term therapy, a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tube may be required. A PEG tube is a short feeding tube that passes through an opening in the skin over the abdomen, and into the stomach. The tube is used to administer nutrient-rich fluid into the stomach.

What is an ostomy?
An ostomy is an artificial opening made through the skin, into a hollow body organ. In order to create the ostomy for a PEG tube, a surgeon uses an endoscope, which is a flexible, lighted periscope. The endoscope is passed through the mouth, down the esophagus, and into the stomach. It allows the surgeon to view the inside of the stomach. The endoscope is used as a guide for the surgeon to make incisions through the stomach and the skin.

What is a stoma?
The stoma, or opening in the skin, may be raised or flush with the skin. The inside of a stoma is normally warm, moist and pink. Stomas tend to shrink in size over time and are not painful to touch.

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Last Updated: May 3, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed PEG Tubes References
  1. Gallagher H. Follow up after PEG tube insertion. Ulster Med J. 2007 Sep;76(3):171; author reply 171-2. [17853648]
  2. Sanders DS, Carter MJ, D'Silva J, McAlindon ME, Willemse PJ, Bardham KD. Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy: a prospective analysis of hospital support required and complications following discharge to the community. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2001 Jul;55(7):610-4. [11464235]
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