PEG stands for percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy, a procedure in which a flexible feeding tube is placed through the abdominal wall and into the stomach. PEG allows nutrition, fluids and/or medications to be put directly into the stomach, bypassing the mouth and esophagus. It is used when disease or other circumstance interferes with the body getting the nutrients that it needs.
The word percutaneous means “through the skin,” and an endoscope is used to help place the PEG tube in properly. Patients can usually go home the day of the procedure or the next day.
Complications can occur with the PEG placement. Possible complications include pain at the PEG site, leakage of stomach contents around the tube site, and dislodgment or malfunction of the tube. Other possible complications include infection of the PEG site, aspiration (inhalation of gastric contents into the lungs), bleeding and perforation (an unwanted hole in the bowel wall). Your doctor can describe symptoms that could indicate a possible complication. 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.