What is a gastrostomy-jejunostomy tube?

A gastrostomy-jejunostomy tube -- commonly abbreviated as "G-J tube" -- is placed into your child's stomach and small intestine. The “G” portion of this tube is used to vent your child's stomach for air or drainage, and / or drainage, as well as give your child an alternate way for feeding. The “J” portion is used primarily to feed your child.

The word "gastrostomy" comes from two Latin root words for "stomach" (gastr) and "new opening" (stomy). "Jejunostomy" is made up of the words for "jejunum" (or the second part of the small intestine) and "new opening."

The G-J tube stays in place in your child's stomach because there is a balloon or a plastic bumper at the end of the tube inside the stomach securing it to the stomach wall. There is a smaller tube (the J-tube) that will go into the jejunum via the same opening in the stomach wall, secured by the same balloon.

There is a plastic disc around the tube outside of the child's body. This keeps the tube from sliding in and out of the opening. This plastic disc should not slide around on the tube, and should be snug against the skin (the space between the bottom of the disc and the stomach should be about the depth of a dime), but it should not cause pressure. The tube should be able to move in and out of the child's stomach just slightly.

On the outside of the body, you will find three ports at the end of the tube labeled: gastric, jejunal and balloon. Your doctor or nurse will give you further instructions for their use.