- Tube feeding, also called enteral nutrition, is a way food and drink can get into the body if a person is unable to eat/drink or unable to eat/drink enough. Food in liquid form, formula, fluids and medicine can be given through a tube into the stomach or small intestine.
- There are different types of feeding tubes and a doctor will determine what type of tube is required based on the person's needs.
Common feeding tubes are:
- A nasogastric tube - often called an NG-tube. This tube is inserted through the nose and runs down to the stomach. It is used for short term tube feeding.
- A nasojejunal tube - often called an NJ-tube or Transpyloric (TP). This tube is inserted through the nose and runs through the stomach and down to the jejunum (small intestine).
- A gastrostomy tube - sometimes called a G-tube. This tube is inserted into the stomach through a small opening made in the abdominal wall. They include a PEG (percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy) and low profile device/button (balloon and non-balloon).
- A jejunal or jejunostomy tube/button (skin level device) – sometimes called a J-tube. This tube is inserted into the jejunum (small intestine) through a small opening in the abdominal wall.
- A gastrojejunal or gastro-jejunostomy tube/button (skin level device) – sometimes called a GJ-tube. This is a longer tube inserted through the gastrostomy opening and passed down into the jejunum (small intestine).
This information has been sourced from The Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network. Read fact sheets on tube feeding on their website here. There are many reasons why babies, children and adults may require a feeding tube.
Feeding Tube Awareness Foundation provides a list of medical conditions that can lead to feeding difficulties that can be severe enough to require tube feeding. The conditions are varied, and many of them aren’t visible. Read the conditions list here.