Childrens Services

Jejunostomy and your child - pre-operative information

This page is intended to offer information to parents and carers who have children needing a jejunostomy tube inserted.

What is a jejunostomy tube?Show [+]Hide [-]

A jejunostomy tube is a tube which goes into the first part of your child’s small intestine (jejunum) through a surgical opening. The tubes come in different lengths and thicknesses and can be kept in short or long term.

Here is a picture of what a jejunostomy looks like:


Why do some children need to have a jejunostomy tube?Show [+]Hide [-]

Many children have feeding difficulties that can be helped by taking ‘high energy’ drinks or medication. Other children have more complicated feeding difficulties or conditions requiring the use of a jejunostomy tube in the short or long term.


If a child is unable to tolerate feeds into their stomach they may need to have a jejunostomy tube inserted. If a decision is made for your child to have a jejunostomy tube, this will provide a way for extra nourishments to be given, usually in the form of a milk formula. Your child’s dietitian will discuss the type and amount of feed your child will need. Having feeds this way is known as ‘enteral feeding’.                                           

Some examples of many reasons for a child needs a NJ tube are:

  • Excessive vomiting
  • Pain when feeding
  • Inability to gain weight with feeding into their stomach
  • They require a trial of hypoallergenic/polymeric feeding to try and improve the symptoms they are experiencing due to an underlying medical condition.

How is a jejunostomy tube inserted and how long will my child be in hospital?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • Your child’s jejunostomy will be inserted under a general anaesthetic.
  • Your child will usually come into hospital the day before or sometimes first thing on the morning of the procedure.
  • Your child will need to stay in hospital for a few days after the jejunostomy tube has been inserted so that you can be taught how to safely care for and use the jejunostomy tube and your child can get started on feeds.
  • You will be able to stay with your child whilst they are in hospital.
  • After 12 weeks the jejunostomy can be changed. This can be done in the community when your child is awake. Your children’s community nurse will do this.

How is the jejunostomy kept in place?Show [+]Hide [-]

Your child’s tube will be secured onto their tummy with a stitch which is covered with a dressing.

Risks/benefits/effects on quality of lifeShow [+]Hide [-]

As each patient is different, these will be fully discussed with you by your child’s doctor before the jejunostomy is inserted.

If you have you any questionsShow [+]Hide [-]

If you have any questions these can be answered by the nurse on the ward. After you go home, these can be answered by your children’s community nurse. It is sometimes a good idea to write them down. Before your child is discharged you will be given an aftercare booklet and the contact numbers needed are included in there.

Contact details

Monday to Friday between the hours of 9.00am to 5.00pm: Please contact your child’s community nurse or telephone the ward that you were discharged from.

Outside the hours stated above: please telephone the ward that you were discharged from.

The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) can offer on-the-spot advice and information about the NHS. You can contact them on freephone 0800 032 02 02 or email

PDF leaflet

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

Useful websites

If you would like further information about health conditions and treatment options, you may wish to have a look at the NHS Choices website at On this website there is an information prescription generator which brings together a wealth of approved patient information from the NHS and charity partners which you may find helpful. 

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