Pediatric General Surgery

Gastrostomy Tube

What Is a Gastrostomy Tube?

A gastrostomy tube, also called a G tube, is a synthetic feeding tube surgically inserted through the abdomen into the stomach. It provides direct access to the stomach to deliver food, nutrients and medication when your child is unable to eat or drink on their own.

The surgeons at University Children’s Health are experts in placing G tubes. Read more about whether a G tube is the right decision for your child. 

Why Does My Child Need a G Tube?

Your child may need a G tube if they are unable to eat due to injury or illness, if they aren’t getting enough nutrition by eating, or if they have chewing and swallowing difficulties. A G tube can help your child get the nutrients, fluids and medications they need to recover and have a better quality of life. 

The G tube can be removed at any time if your child’s care team thinks they don’t need it anymore.

Types of G Tubes

There are two types of G tubes: the low-profile tube, also called a button, and the long tube. 

  • The low-profile tube (“button”) sits on the abdomen and creates a pathway into the stomach. It is held in place by a balloon inflated inside the stomach. An extension is connected to the button when feeding fluid or medication into the stomach.
  • A long tube is surgically placed to create a pathway into the stomach through the abdomen. As the name suggests, this G tube is longer than the low-profile tube, but it does the same thing.

Caring for Your G Tube

Your child’s care team will walk you through how to care for their gastrostomy tube at home. They are generally easy to manage, but if you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to call us at 210-743-2500.

Tips for G tube maintenance

  • Flush G tube before and after feeding anything through it and at least once every 24 hours
  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after handling G tube
  • Do not apply lotion or ointment around the tube insertion site
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