Childrens Services

Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy (PEG) for children - pre-operation

This page offers information to parents and carers who have children needing a Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy (PEG) inserted. 

What is a Gastrostomy?Show [+]Hide [-]

A gastrostomy is a surgical opening, made through the abdominal wall into the stomach. A feeding tube can be passed through the opening.

What is a Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostromy (PEG)?Show [+]Hide [-]

A Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy is a tube that is put in to form a passage from the surface of your child’s tummy into the stomach.

Here is a picture of what a Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy looks like:


Why do some children need to have a Gastrostomy?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.

If a child is unable to eat or drink all that they need for their growth and development, they may need to have a gastrostomy. If a decision is made for your child to have a gastrostomy 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’.

Often, children can feed by mouth as well as having gastrostomy feeds. This will depend on what your child’s feeding difficulties are. Some examples of the many reasons for a child needing this help are:

  • They may have difficulty with normal sucking, chewing and swallowing.  
  • They may have a respiratory disease which causes breathlessness whilst eating. This can lead to the inability to eat enough food to maintain their growth and development.  
  • They may have a condition where extra nutrition is needed for growth and development, and they are unable to take all of this by mouth.  
  • They might not be able to take medication by mouth.

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

  • The PEG 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 at least 48 hours after the PEG has been inserted.  Before you go home you will be taught how to safely care for and use the PEG.
  • You will be able to stay with your child whilst they are in hospital.
  • After six weeks the PEG can be changed to a low-profile balloon gastrostomy device (‘button’). The PEG is removed under a general anaesthetic and a low-profile balloon gastrostomy device inserted at the same time. Your children’s community nurse can provide you with additional information about the low-profile balloon gastrostomy device and the benefits of having this inserted will be discussed with you. If you do not want the PEG changed to a low-profile balloon gastrostomy device it will need to be changed every 2 years.

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

The PEG cannot come out and is securely fixed in place inside and outside.

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

As each patient is different, these will be discussed with your child’s doctor before the PEG is put in. In some cases the PEG may be able to be removed when it is no longer needed. This will be discussed with you and your child by the nurse after the PEG has been inserted.

More informationShow [+]Hide [-]

What to do if you have you any questions

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.

For further information

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:

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. 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

PDF leaflet

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

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