Before permanent removal of a G tube or GJ tube, there are several important things to consider. Please read about preparing for permanent G tube or GJ tube removal to make sure your child is ready.
There are several different balloon-type tubes:
- Foley catheter
- Low-profile G or GJ tube (also known as a “button” tube), such as a Mic-Key, Nutriport, and AMT Mini One
- MIC-Gastrostomy feeding tube
If your child has a balloon-type tube, you may remove the tube yourself or have your child’s doctor remove it. Your child must be taking an oral (i.e., by mouth) antacid medication, such as omeprazole or lansoprazole, for at least one week before the tube is removed and for as long as the stoma is leaking after the tube is removed. Once the tube is removed, stomach contents will leak from the stoma and will continue to do so until the tract closes completely. Lowering the acid level of the stomach contents that leak out will help protect the skin around the stoma and promote better and faster healing.
Removing a low-profile G tube or GJ tube
Insert a slip-tip syringe into the port (on a Mic-Key, this port is marked “BAL”) and withdraw all the water from the balloon. Remove the tube. You may need to pull with a small amount of force to dislodge the tube.
To remove a Foley catheter or MIC-Gastrostomy tube
Insert a slip-tip syringe into the hard plastic port and withdraw all the water from the balloon. Remove the tube. You may need to pull with a small amount of force to dislodge the tube.
To protect the skin from the acidic stomach contents, apply a zinc oxide barrier cream such as Ihle’s Paste or Penaten around the stoma. Apply a gauze dressing over the site until the stoma stops leaking. This dressing should be changed daily or as needed (when it is saturated).
Post balloon-type tube removal
Everyone heals differently, but the tract through the stomach usually closes within a few days. It may take more than two weeks for the tract to heal completely. While the stoma is still leaking, your child will need to protect his or her skin by covering the site with the gauze dressing and taking antacid medication. Do not submerge your child in water until the stoma has stopped leaking. Giving your child a sponge bath is a good alternative. The stoma may look like a dimple or closed earring hole once it has healed.
If the stoma is still leaking two weeks after the tube has been removed, your child’s doctor should refer you and your child to a G tube specialist for further assessment.
- If your child has a balloon-type tube, you may remove the tube yourself.
- Once the tube is removed, stomach contents will leak from the stoma and will continue to do so until the tract closes completely.
- Your child must take an oral antacid medication for at least one week before the tube is removed and continue taking antacid medication until the stoma stops leaking after tube removal.
- Protect the skin from leaking by applying a zinc oxide barrier cream around the stoma and using a gauze dressing.
- The feeding tube tract can take more than two weeks to heal and close completely.