What is tube feeding?
Tube feeding, or enteral feeding, is the delivery of liquid nutrition through a small tube directly into the stomach or the first part of the small intestine. Tube feeding may be necessary for people who have difficulty swallowing or are unable to eat enough food to meet their needs.
Tube feedings can be temporary, as part of rehabilitation until a person can eat again, or long-term for chronic medical conditions requiring nutritional support. People with feeding tubes may still be eating and drinking some foods and liquids by mouth.
Tube feeding is only one method of supplementing the nutritional needs of people with various diseases, disorders and conditions. Discuss all of your nutritional options with your doctor to understand which options are right for you.
Types of tube feeding
The types of tube feeding include:
- Gastrostomy (G) tubes are surgically inserted through the skin of the abdomen (belly) directly into the stomach.
- Jejunal (J) tubes are surgically inserted through the skin of the abdomen (belly) directly into the jejunum (first part of the small intestine).
- Nasogastric (NG) tubes are inserted through the nose into the stomach.
- Nasojejunal (NJ) tubes are inserted through the nose into the first portion of the small intestine or jejunum.
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