This section of our website provides general information about the type of feeding tube your child may receive. In general, there are two types of tubes: nasal tubes and abdominal tubes. Nasal tubes enter through the nose and end in either the stomach or intestine. Abdominal tubes enter directly through the skin into the stomach or intestine.
These tubes enter the nose and feed into the stomach. Children or adults who need tube feedings for only a short period of time, usually 1-6 months, often receive NG-tubes. Often, an NG-tube is the first tube a child or baby will receive. In some cases, children with certain anatomical malformations may require NG-tubes on a long-term basis. NG-tubes can be easily placed or removed without surgery. Unfortunately, they can also be pulled out easily, can be irritating for some children, and must be taped to the face. NG-tubes can be replaced at home.
Like NG-tubes, ND-tubes enter through the nose, but they extend into the beginning of the small intestine, the duodenum. These tubes are ideal for children or adults who need tube feedings for a short period of time, usually 1-6 months, but are unable to tolerate feedings into the stomach. They can be placed and removed without surgery, but they typically need to be placed in the hospital or clinic to ensure the tube extends into the duodenum. Feedings must be given slowly, over 18-24 hours.
NJ-tubes are almost identical to ND-tubes, except they extend a little bit further into the small intestine. Feedings end up in the jejunum. Like other nasal tubes, NJ-tubes are intended for short-term use in children and adults, typically 1-6 months. They are specifically designed for children and adults who are unable to tolerate feedings into the stomach. They can be placed and removed without surgery, but they typically need to be placed in the hospital or clinic to ensure the tube extends into the jejunum. Feedings must be given slowly, over 18-24 hours.
G-tubes are the most common type of feeding tubes. They are placed surgically or endoscopically directly through the skin and into the stomach. Children and adults who require tube feeding for more than 3 months are likely to receive a G-tube. A G-tube may consist of a long tube, sometimes called a PEG tube, or a skin-level button device. Once the tube tract has healed, the tube or button may be replaced at home.
GJ-tubes are very similar to G-tubes in that they enter the stomach directly through the skin using the same site or stoma as a G-tube. Most have two feeding ports, one into the stomach, and a second tube that extends into the small intestine. The longer internal tube allows feeding directly into the intestine for children and adults who cannot tolerate gastric feeds. GJ-tubes are rarely a first tube. In most cases, a G-tube is converted to a GJ-tube when gastric feedings are not tolerated. Both long GJ-tubes and skin-level button devices are available. These tubes must be replaced at the hospital, usually by an interventional radiologist. Feedings must be given slowly, over 18-24 hours.
J-tubes are tubes that are directly placed into the small intestine. These tubes are not very common, especially in children. They require surgical placement. Depending on the type of surgery and tube, the J-tube may be able to be replaced at home. Feedings must be given slowly, over 18-24 hours.