G-J Tube Changes

A gastrostomy-jejunostomy tube (G-J tube) is a tube that is placed in your stomach and small intestine. This tube may be used to let out air or drainage from your stomach, and also to give you another way to feed your body (the J tube portion is used for feeding). Typically, GJ tubes are used for children who cannot tolerate feeding into the stomach, usually due to gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). The GJ tube is placed through the already existing stoma (opening) into the stomach if you have had a G tube previously. G-J tube changes are typically only required when they become clogged.

What will the procedure involve?

You will be given medicine that will help you go to sleep. Then the doctor will use a very narrow, bendable tube with a tiny camera and light on the end to look inside your body (endoscopy tube). The doctor will thread the GJ tube into your small intestine via the endoscopy tube. The tube will stay in your stomach because it has a small balloon on the end, inside your stomach. The end of the tube has three outlets (labeled gastric, jejunal, and balloon). Your doctor will give you further instructions on these tubes and outlets.

Before and after the procedure

You should not eat or drink anything 6 to 8 hours before this procedure in order to avoid problems with the medicine that will be used to help you sleep during the procedure (anesthesia).

Immediately after the procedure, you will begin to slowly wake up from the medicine. Sometimes a child may feel sick after the procedure, and will need to stay a bit longer until feeling better. A nurse will let you know when it is safe for you to go home.

Following insertion of a G-J tube, feeding via the tube will now have to be continuous (versus bolus feeding). This is because the feeding is going directly into the small intestine versus the stomach. The small intestine cannot handle large amounts of food at one time like the stomach can.

Care for the Skin around the Tube

The area around the tube must be kept clean and dry. You should clean the site 2-3 times daily after surgery with a mixture of half hydrogen peroxide and half normal saline for the first 2-3 days after the procedure. After the first few days following the procedure, you may use mild soap and water to clean the site. Do not continue to cover the site with gauze, as the skin will need to be open to the air. Only use antibiotic creams or ointments if your doctor has given you permission.