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General g-tube Q&A

General G-tube Q&A

What is a gastrostomy tube (also known as G-tube)?

  • The gastrostomy tube is a tube that gives a direct passage into the stomach. It inserts inside the stomach to allow us to give your child nutrition and medications.  It also allows for "venting" or burping the stomach, if needed.

Illustration of where g-tube is placed

What kind of G-tube will my child have?

  • At VCU Health, we primarily place MiniONE G-tubes (supplied by Applied Medical Technology) in patients who need a G-tube. It has three main parts: 1. the feeding port, 2. The balloon valve and 3. the balloon. You will use the feeding port to connect it to the feeding set to use it for medications and feeds. The balloon valve is used to inflate the balloon to anchor the G-tube inside the stomach. You can use a small amount of water to inflate the balloon. Usually, 4 to 5 mL of water is sufficient. (Do not touch the balloon port until told to do so by your provider.)
  • A standard gastrostomy tube may also be used. There are four main parts - 1. the feeding port, 2. the medication port, 3. the balloon,  4. a round disc which sits at the skin level. You will use the feeding port to connect it to the feeding set to use it for medications and feeds. The balloon valve is used to inflate the port to connect it to the feeding set to use it for feedings. You can connect the syringe to the medication port for giving medications.

Image of a g-tube

Why does my child need a G-tube?

  • G-tube is often used for children who have trouble with ingesting medications, water or food by mouth.

Will my child have a G-tube specific to him/her?

  • Yes, your surgeon will decide the size of the tube specific to your child. There are varying sizes of G-tubes mainly designated by ___ French x ____ cm. The French size refers to the size of the lumen of the G-tube while the centimeter refers to the length of the G-tube. Please review this picture to visualize what part of the G-tube these sizes refer to. Please make sure to write down the sizes and keep it in a safe location in case you do need a replacement.

Illustration showing g-tube size

Can my child eat/drink by mouth when G-tube is in place if they were doing so beforehand?

  • Yes, your child can eat/drink by mouth with the G-tube in place. G-tube will not interfere with this and instead can be used as an adjunct to boost nutrition.  

Is G tube permanent?

  • No. G-tube can be taken out if your child does not need it any longer. Often, the tract will close on its own but sometimes you may need surgery to close it. But please do not take out the G-tube before discussing this option with your surgeon.

What's included in the G-tube kit?

Illustration of g-tube parts

What else will I need to use the G-tube?

  • A pump (Infinity or Joey) and a bag for the pump
  • An IV pole
  • 'Mini backpack
  • AMT 12" and 24" Y-port extension
  • Syringe 10cc luer slip (5/month) and 60cc catheter tip (5/month)
  • KY Jelly (1 tube/month)
  • Medipore tape (4/month)
  • Drain sponges 2x2 (2 boxes/month)
  • Mesalt dressings (10/month)
  • Aquacel Aq dressings (4/month)
  • Mepliex lite dressings (4/month)
  • Adhesive remover (1 box)
  • Farrell bags (31/month)
  • Blue silicon tape (4/month)
  • VASHE (3/month)
  • Stoma powder (3/month)
  • Calmoseptine (2/month)

Some of these you will use every day and some you will use only on certain occasions. Please refer to the G-tube care page for further instructions.