Providing Care and Support for Patients and Families

At the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital, our specialty nurses work with pediatric patients who have a gastrostomy tube (G-tube). Our team provides post-operative education and ongoing care to patients who have a G-tube.

The pediatric surgery advanced practice nurses (APNs) are available to answer questions about your child’s G-tube and help you with management. If you are having any difficulties or concerns with the G-tube, please call 773-702-6169 to speak to one of our APNs.

What is a G-tube?

  • A gastrostomy is a surgical opening (cut) in your child’s abdomen made for the placement of a gastrostomy tube.
  • A gastrostomy tube may be needed if your child cannot swallow or is not able to take enough food or fluids for good nutrition and growth. It can be used for feedings, fluids or medications.
  • A gastrostomy tube is also known as a G-tube or feeding tube.
  • A G-tube may be temporary or permanent, depending on your child’s needs.
  • G-tubes are changed every three months.
  • Regular, planned changes do not need to be done in the operating room. They can be done in the clinic by the APN or at home by a family member who has been shown how to change the tube.

About Gastrostomy Surgery

  • A pediatric surgeon will place your child’s G-tube in the operating room.
  • The G-tube is placed by making a small surgical opening in the abdomen and into the stomach.
  • The part of the G-tube that is placed in the stomach has a balloon on the end. The balloon is filled with a small amount of water after it is in placed in the stomach.
  • The balloon helps to keep the G-tube in place and helps to prevent leaking.
  • There are several different kinds of G-tubes. Your surgeon will choose the best type for your child. 

G-Tube Tip Sheets

G-Tube Care Instructions

G-Tube Video Guides

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This is a demonstration on how to change a balloon G-tube. Always begin by washing your hands and preparing your supplies.

Next, you will test your new G-tube. Draw up tap water into a syringe, and then you will insert the syringe into the balloon port. Push water into the port to inflate the balloon. Check the balloon for any leaks or tears. Deflate the balloon by pulling water back into the syringe, and disconnect the syringe.

Line up the black line on the extension set and on the G-tube. Push extension set down, and turn to the right to lock in place. Close the clamp on the extension set, and you can now lubricate the end of your new G-tube.

Your new G-tube is ready to go. Place on a clean surface within easy reach. Attach an empty syringe to the balloon port of your child's current G-tube. Withdraw all water by pulling back on the syringe. Lift the G-tube straight out of child, and be prepared with gauze for leakage from the site.

Once the skin is clean, insert the new G-tube. While holding the G-tube in place, attach the syringe, filled with the desired amount of water, into the balloon port. Push water into the port, and then detach the syringe. Open clamp on your extension set, and look for stomach contents to back up into the tubing.

Great job. You have now changed your child's G-tube.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

[MUSIC PLAYING]

This is a demonstration on how to check the water in your child's balloon G-tube. Once you have washed your hands and prepared a clean surface, please fill a syringe with the correct amount of water that should be in the balloon.

The nurse practitioner will have given you this number. It is typically between 2.5 and 4 milliliters. Attach a second empty syringe to the balloon port of your child's G-tube.

While holding the G-tube in place, pull back on the syringe to withdraw all of the water from the balloon. Disconnect the syringe and check how much water is in the syringe.

If there is less water than the amount supposed to be in there, connect the prefilled syringe and push the correct amount of water into the balloon.

Great job. You have now checked and change the water of your child's balloon G-tube.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

Contact Our Pediatric Surgery APN Team

Nissen Fundoplication

Helpful G-Tube Resources for Parents and Caregivers

Feeding Matters
Hosts a parent-to-parent online forum to address questions and concerns about pediatric feeding disorders and tube feeding

Feeding Tube Awareness Foundation
Helps other parents by sharing practical experience tube-feeding infants and children and to raise positive awareness of tube feeding so that families have the support they need

The Oley Foundation
A national, independent, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that strives to enrich the lives of those living with home intravenous nutrition and tube feeding through education, advocacy, and networking; also serves as a resource for consumer’s families, clinicians and industry representatives, and other interested parties