These tubes do not have a long tube permanently attached outside the stomach. Instead, they have a tube called an extension set that is attached for feeding or medication administration and then disconnected when not in use. When an extension set is not attached to the button, it lies fairly flat against the body. There are two types: balloon and non-balloon.
Balloon buttons are held in place by a water-filled balloon. Balloon buttons are the most common G-tube for children once the stoma (G-tube site) is fully healed, usually in 2-3 months. The use of balloon buttons as a first G-tube is increasing among medical professionals. Balloon buttons can be replaced at home after caregiver training.
Some surgeons and gastroenterologists prefer the first G-tube to be a non-balloon button. Non-balloon buttons are harder to pull out than balloon buttons. Non-balloon buttons cannot be replaced at home. They are placed in the doctor’s office or at the hospital, sometimes with sedation or a topical pain reliever.