Pre and Post Operative Care
Pre and Post Operative Care
How do my child and I prepare for the gastrostomy tube procedure?
We encourage good communication between you and your child, including the necessity and overview of the procedure as well as ensuring them that you are close by the whole time. Holding them or their hands until they leave for the procedure is a great way to provide support.
You will be given specific instructions along the way but you may need to arrive a few hours before the scheduled procedure to have some blood tests done. When you arrive at the hospital, a doctor will review the procedure and associated risks, after which you will sign a consent form. When we are ready to get started with the procedure, a nurse will place an intravenous line to deliver sedating medications and you will be allowed to accompany your child in the operating room until they are asleep, after which you will be escorted to a waiting room.
What happens after the gastrostomy tube procedure?
Nurses will monitor your child in the recovery area for four to six hours for successful recovery from anesthesia and any immediate complications. The doctor may decide to have your child admitted to the hospital for an overnight stay. As mentioned, there may be some discomfort around the tube insertion site for some days following the procedure, which is easily relieved by over-the-counter medications. If there are no complications, feeding through the tube can begin about 8 hours after the procedure. It is important to keep the bandage surrounding the tube clean and dry.
When can my child bathe after the gastrostomy tube procedure?
You can allow your child to sponge bathe for the first 48 hours after the procedure. It is important to avoid full submersion in water for two weeks after the procedure to allow for healing around the tube insertion site.
Are there any activity restrictions after a gastrostomy tube procedure?
Though your child can resume normal school-going or daycare attendance, physical activity that can result in pulling of the tube should be limited, particularly contact sports and rough playing.
How long will the gastrostomy tube stay in place?
The total duration of tube placement will be determined by the physician caring for your child’s underlying disease but the primary tube will be exchanged for a “low-profile” one that is shorter and less noticeable. Different low-profile tubes are available and the radiologist will discuss these options and their recommendations with you. Tubes will be exchanged about every three months at scheduled follow-ups. Specific concerns regarding clogging of the tube or the tube falling out will be addressed in your training prior to the procedure. These are not emergencies and can most often be handled by simple water flushing of the tube through a syringe or slightly pushing the tube back into place and securing it with tape while not feeding through it. It is important to call our department soon after these occurrences.
CONTACT CNMC IMMEDIATELY IF YOUR CHILD EXPERIENCES ANY OF THE FOLLOWING:
- • Redness, pain, swelling or bruising at the needle insertion site.
- • Fever higher than 101° Fahrenheit or 38° Celsius.
The Department of Interventional Radiology can be reached at: 202-476-3791, Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
At all other times, please call 202-259-8643, which is the on-call pager. Follow the instructions and wait for a call back.
Children’s National interventional radiologists perform a full range of minimally invasive, image-guided procedures to both diagnose and treat disease in infants, children, and adolescents.