Nutrition Services for adults

Jejunostomy JEJ tube - after surgery

This webpage gives information and advice to adults following insertion of a surgical jejunostomy tube. This is often called a ‘jejunal’ or ‘JEJ’ tube.

It is important that you are aware of the problems you may experience after leaving hospital as some situations need further treatment.

Your Jejunostomy tubeShow [+]Hide [-]

Your JEJ tube is positioned in the jejunum (small bowel) and allows you to be given enough nourishment, fluids and medication whilst you are unable to eat and drink normally. It is secured to the skin with a circular plate and skin stitches or fixation plaster.

Checking the position of your JEJ tubeShow [+]Hide [-]

It is important to check the position of the JEJ tube to make sure the feed goes directly where it should in your body. You or your carer will be shown how to do this by your nurse. This can be done by you, your carer or a community nurse.

  • Check the position of the skin stitches or JEJ tube fixation plaster. If your JEJ tube appears to have moved, lengthened or changed position, contact your community or ward nurse for advice before using.
  • Initially, the JEJ tube is also held in place by a small balloon filled with water. This balloon helps the surgeon secure the tube when it is first put in but should not be touched following discharge unless specifically recommended by your surgeon.

Stoma site careShow [+]Hide [-]

The area where your tube enters your abdomen is called the ‘stoma site’.

Your stoma site and the tube need to be cared for to reduce the possibilities of soreness or infection. A small amount of discharge from the stoma site is normal for the first few days.

  • Wash and dry your hands thoroughly before and after caring for your tube and stoma site. Your nurse will advise you on this
  • For two to three weeks clean the stoma site daily using cotton gauze and sterile saline solution and apply a dry dressing to protect the site. Your nurse will give you these.
  • For two to three weeks do not immerse the JEJ in water (use showers not baths).
  • After two to three weeks the stoma area should be kept clean by washing the area daily using a clean soft cloth, non-perfumed soap and warm water and dry with a clean towel.
  • After two to three weeks no dressing should be necessary unless there is discharge or discomfort at the site. However, a transparent dressing may be used as above to cover the site for your comfort while also allowing you to see the stoma site easily. 
  • Don't use talcum powder or creams around the stoma site. Only creams prescribed by your doctor should be applied.
  • If the stoma site is painful, red and inflamed, oozing blood or pus, a swab to check for infection may be needed. Stop the feed, flush the JEJ tube and seek advice from your community nurse or GP.

Flushing and feedingShow [+]Hide [-]

  • If your tube is not required for feeding, it will still need flushing daily to prevent blockage. Your ward nurse will show you how to do this.
  • At home, only give prescribed feed, water that has been boiled and cooled to room temperature and medication (as instructed) through your JEJ. Cooled previously boiled water should be stored in a clean lidded container in the fridge and discarded after 24 hours. 
  • Make sure the prescribed volume of water is flushed through the tube before and after feed. 
  • Purple coloured syringes must be used. At home these should be washed with clean, warm, soapy water (washing up liquid), rinsed and dried thoroughly after each use. They can be stored in a clean, dry container and can be reused up to 30 times. While you are in hospital syringes should be used once then thrown away.
  • Medicines should be in liquid form whenever possible and be given separately down your JEJ tube. Flush with at least 10mls of water between each medication.
  • After your last medication, flush using a push pause technique. Creating turbulence within the tube when flushing will help to remove particles within the tube.
  • Not all medicine can be given through your JEJ tube and your doctor may need to seek advice from a pharmacist when prescribing medication.

Tube blockageShow [+]Hide [-]

If the JEJ tube blocks:

  • First, try 10-20mls of warm, previously boiled water. Use the syringe plunger to apply gentle pressure and then suction in order to attempt to withdraw contents of the tube.
  • Gently squeeze/roll blocked section of the tube between finger and thumb to help disperse the blockage.
  • If this fails, try to flush with soda water. Do not use fruit juice or cola as this can make the blockage worse.
  • Repeat the above advice at 20 minute intervals.
  • If still blocked contact one of your key contacts at the end of this leaflet.
  • When attempting to flush do not use excessive force, as this may damage your JEJ tube.

Tube fallen outShow [+]Hide [-]

  • If the tube comes out, don’t panic. Cover the stoma site with a gauze dressing and tape down. You will need to have a new tube inserted as soon as possible so you will need to seek medical advice immediately.
  • Do not use the tube or try to replace it yourself. If possible keep the JEJ tube for inspection.

Please note

If during the first seven days following your tube insertion:

  • there is a leak of fluid around the tube
  • there is pain on feeding
  • or there is fresh bleeding

Stop the feed immediately and contact the hospital.

Contact details

Monday to Friday - 9.00am to 5.00pm

Your community nurses or GP should be able to help or contact the Nurse in Charge, on the ward you attended.

For urgent advice outside the hours stated above

Please telephone:

  • Newcastle Hospitals Trust Switchboard, tel: 0191 233 6161

Ask to speak to:

  • Specialist Registrar on call for Upper GI at the RVI Hospital

In an emergency

  • Ring 999 or go to your local Emergency Department

Your local Emergency Department can contact the Newcastle Hospitals Trust Switchboard on tel: 0191 233 6161 if further advice is required and ask to speak to the Specialist Registrar on call for Upper GI surgery at the RVI.

Leaflet to download

You can download the information on this page as a PDF leaflet.pdf

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