Percutaneous Feeding Tube Placement

A Percutaneous Feeding Tube Placement procedure is one wherein a feeding tube is inserted through the skin and the stomach wall, directly into the stomach or small intestine.


Before the procedure, a small tube will be inserted through your nose and down your throat into your stomach. Air will be passed through this tube to inflate the stomach. A percutaneous feeding tube placement procedure involves the placement of a fine needle through your skin and into your stomach or small intestine. Some numbing medicine will be injected in the skin before the needle is inserted. Intravenous medications may also be given to you to make you more comfortable and relaxed. This is known as conscious sedation.

Following insertion, the needle will be guided to the correct location by an x-ray camera or ultrasound machine. The position of the needle will then be confirmed by the injection of x-ray contrast material (x-ray dye). A feeding tube will then be placed into the stomach or small intestine. The tube will be used for feeding the following day.


Risks associated with this procedure include:

  • Pain or discomfort at the needle insertion site
  • Bleeding
  • Internal bleeding
  • Injury to a blood vessel
  • Organ puncture
  • Infection of the blood stream

And because a needle is being placed into your stomach or small intestine system, there is also the risk of developing a leak that may cause peritonitis. This pertains to an infection of the lining of the abdomen.

The development of any infection, including peritonitis, may result in the need for intravenous antibiotics.

Risks associated with the x-ray contrast material include an allergic reaction.

The medications used for the conscious sedation are associated with the risks of aspirating (inhaling food or liquid into your lungs) or respiratory depression. They may also be other unpredictable risks in this procedure, such as death.


Other procedures can be performed to provide feeding tubes such as endoscopic gastrostomy and surgical gastrostomy. Please discuss alternatives with your physician if you are unsure about having this procedure.


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