Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy (PEG)

  • Medical Author:
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy facts

  • Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy is a procedure that allows nutritional support for patients who cannot take food orally. Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy involves placement of a tube through the abdominal wall and into the stomach through which nutritional liquids can be infused.
  • Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy is a surgical procedure; however, it does not require opening the abdomen or an operating room. Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy also does not require general anesthesia.
  • Complications of percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy include infection, leakage of nutritional liquids that are infused and clogging of the tube.
  • Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy is preferable to surgical gastrostomy

What is percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG)?

Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) is a surgical procedure for placing a tube for feeding without having to perform an open operation on the abdomen (laparotomy). It is used in patients who will be unable to take in food by mouth for a prolonged period of time. A gastrostomy, or surgical opening into the stomach, is made through the skin using an a flexible, lighted instrument (endoscope) passed orally into the stomach to assist with the placement of the tube and secure it in place.

What is the purpose of percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG)?

The purpose of a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy is to feed those patients who cannot swallow food. Irrespective of the age of the patient or their medical condition, the purpose of percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy is to provide fluids and nutrition directly into the stomach.

Who does percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG)?

Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy is done by a physician. The physician may be a general surgeon, an otolaryngologist (ENT specialist), radiologist, or a gastroenterologist (gastrointestinal specialist).

Where is percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy done (PEG)?

PEG is performed in a hospital or outpatient surgical facility. It is not necessary to perform a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy in an operating room.

How is percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) performed?

Local anesthesia (usually lidocaine or another spray) is used to anesthetize the throat. An endoscope (a flexible tube with a camera and a light on the end) is passed through the mouth, throat and esophagus into the stomach. The physician then makes a small incision (cut) in the skin of the abdomen over the stomach and pushes a needle through the skin and into the stomach. The tube for feeding then is pushed through the needle and into the stomach. The tube then is sutured (tied) in place to the skin.

When can the percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy patient go home (PEG)?

The patient usually can go home the same day or the next morning, unless they are in the hospital for other reasons.

What are the possible complications with percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG)?

Possible complications include infection of the puncture site (as in any kind of surgery,) dislodgement of the tube with leakage of the liquid diet that is fed through the tube into the abdomen, and clogging of the tube.

What are the advantages of percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy?

Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy takes less time, carries less risk and costs less than a surgical gastrostomy which requires opening the abdomen. Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy is commonly performed, so there are many physicians with experience in performing the procedure. When feasible, percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy is preferable to a surgical gastrostomy.

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Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care


DeLegge, Mark H., MD, FACG, AGAF. "Gastrostomy tubes: Placement and routine care"
UptoDate. Updated Aug. 11, 2016.