Endoscopic gastrostomy, percutaneous (PEG): A surgical procedure for placing a feeding tube without having to perform an open laparotomy (operation on the abdomen). The aim of PEG is to feed those who cannot swallow. PEG may be done by a surgeon, otolaryngologist (ENT specialist), or gastroenterologist (GI specialist). It is done in a hospital or outpatient surgical facility. Local anesthesia (usually lidocaine or another spray) is used to anesthetize the throat. An endoscope (a flexible, lighted instrument) is passed through the mouth, throat and esophagus to the stomach. The surgeon then makes a small incision (cut) in the skin of the abdomen and pushes an intravenous cannula (an IV tube) through the skin into the stomach and sutures (ties) it in place. The patient can usually go home the same day or the next morning. Possible complications include wound infection (as in any kind of surgery) and dislodging or malfunction of the tube. Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy may be a mouthful (as a term) but it describes the procedure accurately. A gastrostomy (a surgical opening into the stomach) is made percutaneously (through the skin) using an endoscope to put the feeding tube in place. PEG takes less time, carries less risk and costs less than a classic surgical gastrostomy which requires opening the abdomen.
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Last Editorial Review: 7/1/2016