Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
The radiation treatment cured my Nasopharyngeal cancer 18 years ago but I also lost the ability to swallow food. Last March, a peg-24 tube was installed but the tube is worn-out and needs to be replaced now. Doctor told me new tube will have to be inserted from my mouth. I wonder are there other ways to replace the tube? Do you know tube products that will last longer, say 5-10 years?
Ellen Sweeney, RD, Clinical Nutrition Specialist at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania responds:
PEG stomach tubes are initially placed endoscopically (a scope goes down the throat to help guide placement of the tube through the wall of the stomach) It sounds like yours was initially. Typically, when the tubing gets worn it may pull away from the stomach wall and cause leakage near the stomach insertion point. However, if leakage is only occurring at the port site (the end of the tubing where the formula is poured), you may be able to just replace the port/catheter part of the tubing. The office that inserted the tube may be able to replace this part for you.
When a PEG 'wears out', the replacement process usually does not involve another endoscopic procedure. The tubing is usually pulled out through the stomach site and then replaced through the stomach site with a new catheter for feeding. Most institutions use one standard type of tubing so there is not usually more than one tubing to choose from. You may want to talk with the physician or staff who initially put in your PEG to discuss this further.