Per-cutaneous gastrostomy

This is a technique by which a small tube is passed via endoscopy straight through the abdominal wall into the stomach cavity and a plastic tube is left there in order that feeds can be administered to promote good nutrition. This is particularly helpful for children with very bad feeding problems or an inability to use the normal routes of feeding to promote good nutrition. This happens in children such as those with cerebral palsy or those who have a requirement for calories which is much greater that their normal capacity to provide them, eg cystic fibrosis or significant feeding disturbances.

The tube is usually 4-5mm in diameter and is made of an inert plastic. It has a flange on the inside which keeps it in place and usually some fixation device at the skin level. After a 3-4 month period it can be changed for a balloon device where a balloon inside can be inflated with water and this is flush on the outside of the abdomen with the skin. These devices can stay for a long period of time or they can be removed after a short period of time and when they are removed within 24 hours the small hole clears up. This is only 4-5mm in diameter and there is no other visible scarring.

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