Understanding PEG Tube Feeding

Healthcare providers use PEG (percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy) tube feeding when you can’t swallow food safely or there is a blockage in your esophagus or stomach. It's also used if you can’t take enough food by mouth. The feeding tube lets food bypass the mouth and esophagus and go directly into your stomach or small intestine.

The path of food

When you eat, you chew your food into small pieces and swallow. The food moves down your esophagus into your stomach. From there, it goes into your small intestine and then into your large intestine. Solid waste (stool) is stored in your rectum and passed out through the anus.

Side view of male body showing digestive system.

How a PEG feeding tube is placed

Your healthcare provider places PEG tubes with the aid of a special instrument called an endoscope. This is a long, flexible, lighted tube that allows your healthcare provider to see inside your stomach. They pass the endoscope through your mouth into your stomach. There, a small surgical cut is made through your skin and into your stomach. They insert the PEG tube through the opening while watching through the endoscope. A special balloon or cap holds the PEG tube in place inside your stomach. Your healthcare provider places a small dressing at the new opening.

A G-tube is placed in the stomach. The G stands for gastrostomy (an opening in the stomach). The tube may also be called a PEG tube.

In some cases, the tube may be placed in the stomach and passed through to a section of the small intestine called the jejunum. The J stands for jejunum. The tube may be called a PEJ tube.

Cross section of body wall showing G-tube inserted into stomach.Cross section of body wall showing J-tube inserted into small intestine.

Digestion works the same

Digestion works the same with a feeding tube as it does when you take food by mouth. So you get the same nutrition by tube feeding as you would get by mouth. If you have any questions or concerns about the feeding tube or its care, be certain to ask your provider. If you want a partner or significant other educated along with you about the feeding tube, let your provider or medical team know. 

Online Medical Reviewer: Jen Lehrer MD
Online Medical Reviewer: L Renee Watson MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Rita Sather RN
Date Last Reviewed: 5/1/2022
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