Endoscopic placement of percutaneous gastrostomies (PEG)

Percutaneous gastrostomy is a modern endoscopic technique whereby a thin permanent feeding tube is passed through the patient’s stomach without a surgical procedure.

During a gastroscopy, permanent communication between the stomach and the skin (fistula) is created, allowing the administration of food, water and medication, bypassing the oral cavity and the esophagus. In this manner, there is no need for permanent nasogastric intubation (Levine), which often leads to pulmonary aspirations. The procedure lasts about 15-20 minutes and is always performed in the presence of an anesthesiologist.

Gastrostomy is usually required in patients with neurological problems who are unable to swallow at all or cannot swallow properly and are at risk of developing aspiration pneumonia. It may also be temporarily placed in patients who are not allowed to feed through their mouths for extended periods of time (e.g. following surgery in the oral cavity).