“G-Tube” Basics

What is a G-tube?

A gastrostomy tube, “G-tube”, is a tube surgically placed in the stomach that delivers food directly to the stomach. Externally G-tubes look like a small port or button on the outside of the stomach.

Why might a kid need a G-tube?

There are many medical reasons behind the recommendation of a G-tube. G-tubes may be placed if your child cannot safely swallow foods or liquids due to dysphagia, physical abnormalities, or other medical comorbidities. G-tubes are additionally recommended for extreme picky eaters who do not consume adequate amounts of nutrition, either via liquids or solids.

What are the benefits of a G-tube?

While the initial recommendation of G-tube may be overwhelming there are many benefits that a G-tube can provide to both parents and children

  • Peace of mind: G-tubes ensure that the child is getting consistent and adequate nutrition. Parents of extreme picky eaters typically worry if their child will eat anything that day, how much they have eaten, and whether or not what they have eaten is even enough.
  • Adequate nutrition: G-tube feeds are measured and calculated by a team of doctors and nutritionists to provide your child with the calories, nutrients, and hydration they need to function
  • Opportunities for weight gain: Ensuring that your child is getting proper nutrition can lead to weight gain, which for most extreme picky eaters is a common concern

Common Myths Surrounding G-tubes

There are common myths surrounding G-tubes that can increase fear and hesitation around the decision to follow through with a G-tube placement

  • They are permanent: G-tubes are typically used for temporary nutrient supplementation and many individuals with G-tubes continue to eat orally. The end goal is to work towards full oral consumption for nutrients and eventually remove the G-tube. The length of G-tube placement is completely patient dependent and plans of weaning can be discussed with the medical team
  • Foods cannot be consumed orally while on a G-tube: A child can continue to consume foods orally and it is extremely encouraged to continue to present oral foods. If your child is in feeding therapy at time of G-tube placement, it is typically recommended to continue therapy to work towards expanding your child’s food repertoire


For additional information and questions please contact your child’s medical provider or feeding therapist. The decision surrounding G-tubes is done after careful consideration of your child’s medical history and past efforts to support oral feeding.




Blog by: Halli Schmittenberg, MOT, OTR/L


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