A gastrostomy is performed to insert a tube directly into the stomach or small intestine of a person who cannot take food or medicine by mouth.

Gastrostomy can be done surgically, or through an interventional radiology technique called percutaneous gastrostomy, which requires only a tiny incision in the skin.

Percutaneous gastrostomy can be performed safely in adults or children. Generally, this is an outpatient procedure or may involve a short hospital stay.

Gastrostomy tube placement is performed for a variety of reasons. Some gastrostomies are performed to provide a route for feeding in people who are unable to eat and swallow normally.

Gastrostomies may also be advised for people with chronic bowel obstruction who cannot tolerate a nasogastric tube (a tube inserted through the nose into the stomach).

Reprinted with permission of the Society of Interventional Radiology (c) 2004, 2008; All rights reserved.

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