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Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy, or PEG, is a procedure during which an endoscope assists the placement of a flexible feeding tube through the abdominal wall and into the stomach. The PEG procedure is for patients who have difficulty swallowing, problems with their appetite or an inability to take enough nutrition through the mouth. It allows nutrition, fluids, and/or medications to be put directly into the stomach, bypassing the mouth and esophagus.
In this procedure, the endoscopist uses a lighted, flexible tube called an endoscope to guide the creation of a small opening through the skin of the abdomen and directly into the stomach. This allows the doctor to place and secure a feeding tube into the stomach. Patients generally receive a sedative and local anesthesia, and an antibiotic is given by vein prior to the procedure. Patients can usually go home the day of the procedure or the next day.
A PEG does not prevent a patient from eating or drinking, but depending on the medical condition and situation, the doctor might decide to limit or completely avoid eating or drinking.
PEG tubes can last for months or years. However, because they can break down or become clogged over extended periods of time, they might need to be replaced. The doctor can remove or replace a tube without sedatives or anesthesia, although he or she might opt to use sedation and endoscopy in some cases. PEG sites close quickly once the tube is removed, so accidental dislodgment requires immediate attention.
For more information see the ASGE patient education brochure "Understanding Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy (PEG)" online at www.asge.org.
Reviewed August 2014.