Radiology (Xray)

Radiologically Inserted Gastrostomy (RIG) Tube

Freeman Hospital Radiology Appointments: (0191) 223 1012

IntroductionShow [+]Hide [-]

Your doctor has recommended that you have a Radiologically Inserted Gastrostomy (RIG) Tube.  When it is not possible for you to take adequate food and drink by mouth, the best way to have liquid nourishment, fluid and medication is through a gastrostomy tube. You will need to use special liquid feeds. This web page aims to answer any questions you may have about the procedure.

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

The type of tube you will have put in is called a low profile device or button.  This is a short tube, flush with the abdominal wall that enables you to be fed directly into your stomach without taking food through your mouth.

RIG stands for Radiologically Inserted Gastrostomy

This means that a tube is placed through the skin into the stomach, under X-ray guidance.  The tube is called a Gastrostomy.Before the procedure you will be seen by a Registered nurse and the Radiologist and you will have the opportunity to discuss any problems or worries.  You will be asked to sign a consent form indicating that you understand the nature and risks of the procedure. The consent form is a legal document, please read it carefully.

How is the button put in?Show [+]Hide [-]

The day before the procedure a fine, soft tube will be passed through the nose into your stomach.

A liquid which shows up on X-ray will be put through this tube to enable the doctor to see where your bowel is as it must be avoided.

On the day of the procedure you will go to the X-ray department and once lying on the X-ray table you may be given a sedative injection to make you sleepy and relaxed. 

It is not a general anaesthetic and you will not be unconscious. Many people have local anaesthetic injection only and no sedation.

Air will be pumped into your stomach through the tube to move the stomach into the right position.

Local anaesthetic is injected into the selected site on your tummy and four stitches are put around the site to hold your stomach in position, these are removed in two or three days.

A small cut is made in the centre of these stitches and the Gastrostomy tube (button) is inserted into your stomach.

Once you return to the ward the soft tube may be removed from your nose unless the doctor states otherwise.

In your stomach there will be a small balloon filled with water which stops your Gastrostomy tube (button) falling out. This water will need to be changed every 10 - 14 days and your District Nurse can do this.

When a feed is due, a feeding tube will be attached to your Button through which the feed is given.

What are the risks?Show [+]Hide [-]

Occasionally there may be some leakage of stomach contents into the abdominal cavity causing infection and infection can occur where the tube passes through the skin.  An antibiotic may be given to treat any infection.

A reaction to the drugs used during the procedure.

Haemorrhage can occur where the tube passes through into the stomach.

The risk of any of these complications being fatal is 1 in 100.

What happens next?Show [+]Hide [-]

While still in hospital you will be shown how to care for your button and you will start receiving feeds through the button.

The Dietitian will choose the best feed for your individual needs and work out a feeding regime. You and / or your carer will be taught how to give the feeds.

What can I put through the button?Show [+]Hide [-]

Your feed

Medication in liquid form


What else do I need to know?Show [+]Hide [-]

It takes about two weeks for the channel or ‘stoma’ to form around the tube.  There may be a little discharge during this time and a small dressing may be necessary.

You will be able to shower soon after the button is inserted and after two weeks you can bath or even go swimming.

You can go out and you will find the button is unobtrusive under your clothes.

In some circumstances you may be able to eat and drink.  The medical staff will advise you.

You should expect to stay in hospital for approximately three to four days for this procedure.  This may vary, the medical staff will advise you.

How long will the button last?Show [+]Hide [-]

The Button is designed to last about six months before it needs to be changed, this can be done without the need for a visit to the X-ray department and if it is no longer required it could be easily removed.

Many people have benefited from having a feeding tube and enjoy the freedom it provides.  Using the button may seem very strange at first but you will soon adapt to a new way of life.

Contact detailsShow [+]Hide [-]

Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

Urgent Messages:

PEG Nurses                          0191 2829637 Direct Line

Nutrition Nurse                     0191 2448520 Direct Line

RVI Endoscopy Unit            0191 2825655 Direct Line

Non urgent messages:

Answer phone                      0191 2820134 Direct Line

Outside the hours stated above:

Please telephone Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Switchboard - 0191 2336161

Ask to speak to the Specialist Registrar on call for Gastroenterology and the Liver Unit at the Freeman Hospital

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