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What Is a Gastrostomy Tube (G-Tube)?

A gastrostomy tube, or G-tube, is a tube inserted through the belly, giving direct access to your child’s stomach. G-tubes are used to give children formula or other supplemental feeding liquids, water, or medication. Most commonly, G-tubes are used to feed children who cannot eat enough food by mouth.

Types of G-Tube

You’ll learn how to use, clean, and care for whichever type of G-tube your child receives, during his or her hospital stay. The pediatric surgical care team will decide which type of G-tube is the best fit for your child.

Low Profile Button G-tube

The low profile button G-tube is the most common and is surgically placed. It rests on top of the abdominal wall, kept in place in the stomach by a water-filled balloon. You’ll attach an extension tube when you give your child medicine or when you feed him or her.

Long Tube

Long tubes are surgically placed and held in place with a water-filled balloon or stitches. A large circular dressing will hold the tube in place with a zip lock-type device.

Find a Pediatric Surgery Specialist


Surgery is the only way to place a low profile button G-tube or a long tube. Most of the time this is done laparoscopic (making small cuts and using cameras). During placement, your surgeon will make a small incision in the stomach and create an opening called a stoma. This is where the tube will be placed. There will usually be one small incision in the belly button as well.

Your child will be admitted to the hospital for several days following surgery to begin feedings. At this time, you'll learn how to care for the G-tube and the stoma.

You'll need to bring your child back for a follow-up in two weeks and again in six weeks after surgery.

After G-Tube Surgery Care Instructions

Seek Immediate Care

Contact your doctor if your child experiences:

  • Excessive leaking around the G-tube that soaks the dressing very quickly.
    • Please note some leaking is common.
  • Dark pink or red tissue (granulation tissue) around the G-tube site.
  • Dislodgement of the G-tube from the stomach.

How Can I Prepare My Child for Surgery?

No matter the surgery, preparing for an approaching surgery can be stressful and frightening for you and especially your child. But with some age-appropriate teaching, reassurances, and support--that fear and stress can evaporate.