G/GJ tubes: Post-tube removal

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Your child’s feeding tube has been removed. Here is what you need to know now that the tube is gone:

  • Your child will leave the clinic with gauze over the stoma (opening in the stomach) secured to their tummy with tape. This will help to protect their clothes from leaks.
  • The feeding tube tract (the passage into the stomach) can take more than two weeks to heal and close, and it will leak during this time.
    • You will see your child’s stoma shrinking within hours of removing the feeding tube.
    • Continue to cover the stoma with gauze while it leaks. Change the gauze daily or when it becomes soaked.
    • Continue to apply a barrier cream, such as Ihle’s Paste or Zincofax, to the skin around the stoma to protect it from acidic stomach contents.
    • Do not be alarmed if you see some of the food and drink your child is eating on the gauze. This is normal.
  • To protect the healing tract (i.e., the passageway into the stomach), your child will be started on an antacid medication such as lansoprazole or omeprazole. Your child must continue to take these antacid medications orally (by mouth) until the leaking stops.
  • Your child can shower as usual. It is important to wash the stoma with soap and water daily to prevent infection.
    • Be gentle, and do not rub the stoma. Allow the soap, shampoo and water to lightly wash over the site.
  • Do not submerge your child in water until the tract is fully closed. This means no baths or swimming. Sponge baths are okay during this time.
  • If the stoma is still leaking two weeks after tube removal, call your specialist for an assessment. Your child may need stitches to close the tract.
  • Once the leaking stops, the stoma will scab over and the gauze dressing can be removed.
  • The stoma may not close completely. It may look like a dimple or a healed earring hole, and the scar will be small.
  • Always watch for signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, pain, and fever. Seek medical care if your child is experiencing these symptoms.

Key points

  • It may take more than two weeks for the feeding tube tract to heal and close, and it will leak during this time.
  • Your child must continue to take the oral antacid medication for as long as the stoma is leaking after the tube is removed.
  • If the stoma is still leaking two weeks after the tube has been removed, call your G tube specialist for further assessment.
  • After tube removal it is important to wash the stoma with soap and water daily to prevent infection. Do not submerge your child in water until the feeding tube tract has stopped leaking.
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Holly Norgrove, RN, BScN

9/7/2015
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At SickKids

If you are a SickKids patient, contact the G tube resource nurse at 416-813-7270, extension 4, with any questions or concerns.

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Notes: