Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) is a surgical procedures which includes insertion of a tube directly into the stomach, through the front abdominal wall. This is a rather complex procedure which includes laparotomy, making incisions in the stomach, insertion of the tube and then placing stitches that will hold the tube in the desirable place.
PEG is performed in those patients who cannot eat because of different conditions affecting their oral cavity and the esophagus. The majority of such patients are individuals suffering from advanced cancers of either oral cavity or esophagus.
Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy and Esophageal Cancer
Esophageal cancer is a malignant tumor that may sometimes be diagnosed once the disease has significantly progressed. The growth of the tumor may cause obstruction in the organ and subsequent difficulty swallowing (dysphagia). As a matter of fact this is the most commonly reported complaint in people suffering from esophageal cancer.
Once the condition is confirmed, cancer is usually surgically resected together with the surrounding tissues and regional lymph nodes. Some patients are, however, inoperable and they undergo other treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Dysohagia in them continues and they can really benefit from this surgical procedure.
Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy - the Very Procedure
The procedure is done by a surgeon, radiologist, ENT specialist or gastroenterologist. It is always performed in a hospital or sometimes in an outpatient surgical facility (in an operating room).
All patients are administered local anesthesia and the doctor inserts an endoscope into the stomach. He/she then makes a small incision in the skin of the abdomen over the stomach and pushes a needle through the skin right into the stomach. After this is done, a tube is inserted right into the previously placed needle and it is then sutured to the skin.
Patients are discharged the same day or the day after. There is slight risk of infection at the puncture site. Also, the tube may dislodge and liquid diet leak into the abdomen. Finally, the tube may be blocked.
Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy Advantages
This is not a complex procedure, carries no serious risks and it allows patients to intake all the essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals they need. So they may continue with treatments and still lose no extra weight because of difficulty eating or swallowing.
Some patients may be reluctant towards this procedure, but they have to realize that it is a necessity which can be soon removed if they respond well to treatment and begin to swallow food normally again.