When a patient isn’t able to eat after surgery or has had a stroke, doctors at Florida Hospital may use a gastrostomy or a feeding tube to deliver nutrients to the patient. A small tube is placed through the skin and into the stomach. Florida Hospital works with each patient’s specific needs and overall health to determine which procedures provide the highest level of care. We strive to improve the patient’s overall wellness as well as treating the condition. Find out more about our compassionate, comprehensive care. Schedule an appointment today.
For a variety of reasons, a patient may not be able to ingest food and nutrients by mouth. Doctors may recommend a gastrostomy tube to deliver much-needed nutrients. The gastrostomy can be permanent or temporary.
A gastrostomy tube is a feeding tube that is inserted through the skin and into the stomach. Patients are then fed through the tube. A gastrostomy tube is inserted with an endoscopic procedure. An endoscope, a tube instrument, is inserted through the mouth and into the stomach. Then the surgeon makes an incision in the skin over the stomach. A tube is inserted through the incision in the skin and into the stomach.
Once the tube is inserted, the doctor stitches the skin closed around the tube. The skin heals around the tube in about a week and allows doctors to administer nutrients.
If necessary, a gastrostomy tube can stay in the stomach for the rest of the patient’s life as a permanent treatment. Regardless of the length of time, patients should learn how to clean the area around the gastrostomy tube to prevent infection.
For more information about this procedure, speak to an expert at Florida Hospital. Contact us today.
Prognosis of a Gastrostomy
Patients with a feeding tube usually experience few long-term symptoms. It is considered to be a simple and safe surgical procedure.
After gastrostomy tube insertion, it often takes five to seven days for the incision around the tube to heal. If the patient experiences pain, it can be treated with medications. After the healing phase, patients will begin using the gastrostomy tube with clear liquids. The foods need to be partially semisolid so that they can pass through the tube. The general practice is to start slow and increase the amount of food over a few weeks. A nutritionist at Florida Hospital will speak to each patient with a gastrostomy tube and teach them about the foods and how to infuse them. The short term prognosis for most patients is good.
In the long term, the prognosis depends on how the overall recovery is taking place. Patients also need to ensure that the skin around the gastrostomy tube is kept clean and dry, to avoid infections. Follow-up care will be necessary to monitor the tube and in case it gets blocked, pulled out or infected.