The days after the PEG placement

After a PEG feeding tube has been placed, it takes a little while to regain consciousness due to the medication administered. The throat may hurt a little. After all, a lot has been pushed through there for the procedure. But that will soon go away. As a PEG tube is often established as part of another treatment, you are already in hospital and will remain there anyway. Otherwise, you can also be admitted for a few days for further observation and follow-up treatment. This is particularly useful if you are being fitted with a PEG tube for the first time. This allows you to learn how to use the new feeding tube in peace and quiet from specialists. The wound must also be treated daily for the first few days.

The first few days are unpleasant

But don’t worry! That sounds worse than it is. However, I want to be completely honest: The first few days after a newly placed PEG tube are unpleasant. After all, the body now has a hole where there wasn’t one before and where none is actually intended by nature. What’s more, an object of foreign matter (the tube of the feeding tube) is stuck in this hole. That hurts, of course. If you can’t stand it, you are given painkillers. The pain subsides after a few days. Until the puncture site no longer hurts at all. At least that is the normal case. In principle, the puncture site can also become inflamed. However, that is a different story. A PEG tube is normally painless. If not, this should be investigated.


A new PEG is kept under tension so that the skin of the abdominal wall and the stomach wall grow together properly and no fluid gets into the abdominal cavity. This creates a puncture channel around the tube of the feeding tube. Kind of like an earring. However, to ensure that the tube does not accidentally become stuck, it is important that the tube is moved, particularly in the first few days after placement (but also repeatedly later on). Experts refer to this as mobilisation. I was really quite afraid of this at the beginning. When the dressing is changed, the outer retaining plate is loosened. The tube is then pushed slightly into the stomach and the tube is rotated once through 360°. The tube is then pulled out again as far as possible so that the inner retaining plate is firmly in place again. Finally, the outer retaining plate is fixed again so that everything is under tension. Of course, the wound is also bandaged again. This procedure actually hurts a little (hole, object, you know …). But it is important. And: It will pass. So grit your teeth and let the experts do it. Unfortunately, there is no way around it.

Take it slow

Theoretically, a PEG feeding tube can be used just a few hours after placement. However, as the body first has to get used to the fact that food no longer comes through the oesophagus but through the PEG, you should start slowly. Initially with a little liquid (i.e. water or cooled (!) tea), then later with tube feeds. The speed should also be increased slowly.
Unless you are my teenage self. At the time, it took my teenage self too long to sit in the room for 2 hours while the first complete bottle of tube feed slowly trickled into his stomach. So I had the nurse crank up the system and had the whole bottle in less than 30 minutes. I hadn’t eaten that quickly for years. And it worked. For me. Everyone should approach it individually and try out what they can tolerate. Especially for people who can’t immediately express their discomfort, you should take things slowly.

At home

If you or your relatives or other carers/assistants are able to cope with handling the feeding tube and changing the dressing, and it is also ensured that the wound is healing well, the PEG is no longer a reason to stay in hospital. The handling of feeding, changing dressings and who else can support you at home, as well as many other topics, are covered in other articles on this blog. So if you don’t want to miss any of those articles, make sure to subscribe to my complimentary newsletter.