A gastro-jejunal, or GJ-tube, can be a great aid for individuals with dysmotility, those who aspirate, and those who are losing a great deal of calories due to vomiting, but are not good candidates for a fundoplication. Rather than feeding into the stomach like G-tubes, GJ-tubes can be used to bypass the stomach and feed directly into the second portion of the small intestine. The gastric port can be used to give medications, vent air, drain fluids, and give feeds if appropriate and safe for the individual. For more general information on GJ-tubes, please visit Gastro-Jejunal (GJ) Tubes.
Switching from a G tube to a GJ tube is a relatively simple procedure. If there is already a G tube in place, the GJ tube can be placed into the same stoma, so no additional surgery is required. The switch is done in the Interventional Radiology department. A special kind of continuous X-ray called fluoroscopy is used to correctly place the GJ. Some hospitals allow parents to be in the room and others do not.
Also, sedation is used by some facilities, but others do not use any type of sedation. While the procedure is not usually very painful, it can be uncomfortable, and some children have trouble staying still or experience anxiety during the procedure. Initial placement can be more difficult than subsequent GJ-tube changes. In subsequent replacements, a guide wire can be threaded through the tube that is already in place so that the new tube can easily be put into the correct position.