print article

Gastrostomy Tube: Changing Your Child's Dressing

A gastrostomy is a surgical opening in the stomach. A gastrostomy tube (G-tube) is placed in the opening to help your child feed.

The nurse changes your child’s first dressing, which stays on for 24 hours. After this, you will change the dressing twice a day, for three days. Changing the dressing helps look for signs of infection.

When you go home you will be changing the dressing once a day. A community nurse should be available to help you with the dressing. Your child cannot go into the water while he has the dressing on.

How do you change your child’s dressing?

To change your child’s dressing, you will need these things before you change your child’s dressing.

  • a clean face cloth
  • warm water
  • soap
  • a clean cloth for drying the skin
  • 2 squares of gauze that are 2 inches by 2 inches
  • scissors
  • 1 piece of tape (each piece of tape should be about 4 inches long.)
  • extra tape
  1. Wash your hands. Take the old dressing around the feeding tube off.
  2. Get Adobe Flash player
     
  3. Look at the skin under the dressing for any signs of redness, swelling, liquid draining, tissue growing, or bleeding. A small amount of yellow-green liquid draining is normal.
  4. Wet half of the face cloth in clean warm water. Put soap on the cloth and gently clean the skin around the feeding tube. Wash the skin gently starting at the hole, making larger, circular movements around the hole
  5. Get Adobe Flash player
     
  6. Using the other half of the face cloth, rinse the skin well with clean warm water. Pat the skin dry.
  7. If there is liquid draining around the feeding tube, put cream on the skin around the tube to protect the skin from the harsh juices of the stomach or small bowel. You can use the creams called Zincofax  or Ihle’s paste.
  8. Get Adobe Flash player
     
  9. Cut the shape of a Y in one gauze piece. Leave the second gauze piece intact.
  10. Put one square of gauze on your child’s skin around the feeding tube. Fit the gauze around the feeding tube so that the tube and retention suture comes through the opening that you cut.
  11. Put the second square of gauze over the first gauze.
  12. Stick the gauze down with tape
  13. Use tape to hold the feeding tube to the skin on your child’s stomach. 

Help keep your child’s skin healthy by:

  • cleaning the skin around the feeding tube with soap and water every day.
  • changing the dressing when it gets wet.

How long will your child need a dressing?

The place where you child had the feeding tube put in usually takes two weeks to heal. After that, your child no longer needs a dressing.

Retention stitch

When the doctor inserts the tube into your child’s stomach, they will also insert a stitch (retention suture). This holds the stomach to the wall of the abdomen. Until the stitch is ready to be removed, your child cannot get into the water (bathtub or pool). Instead, you can sponge bath your child.

Removing the retention stitch

After two weeks, the suture is no longer needed. You can remove the stitch following these steps:

Get Adobe Flash player
 
 

  1. Remove the dressing over your child’s feeding tube
  2. With a pair of scissors, cut the string close to the skin and throw away the excess string that you cut off.
  3. The part of the stitch that is inside your child’s stomach will pass through his stool.

Your child may now go into the bathtub or go swimming.

For more information, please see Gastrostomy Tube: Caring for Your Child and Their G-Tube and Gastrostomy Tube: Common Problems.

Key points

  • A gastrostomy is a surgical opening in the stomach. A gastrostomy tube (G-tube) is placed in the opening to help your child feed.
  • The nurse changes your child’s first dressing, which stays on for 24 hours
  • Your child needs the dressing for two weeks
  • When the doctor inserts the tube into your child’s stomach, they will also insert a stitch (retention suture).
  • You can remove the retention suture after two weeks. Before that time, your child cannot go into the water (bathtub or pool).

Julia Kelly, RN

3/29/2011




Notes: