How Having A Gastrostomy Can Help With Failure To Thrive

Health & Medical Blog

Failure to thrive is a term that is also commonly referred to as growth failure or poor feeding. This feeding disorder often affects babies and very young children. It is usually diagnosed if they are 20 percent less than the normal weight for their height. Sometimes a procedure called a gastrostomy can help when there is failure to thrive.

What is a Gastrostomy?

Some children with failure to thrive may have a disorder where it is difficult to swallow or they may have a disability and cannot feed themselves. They might have an abnormality in the mouth, stomach, esophagus, or intestines. If the child cannot take in enough calories by mouth, a gastrostomy can aid the child in receiving proper nutrition and weight gain.

A gastrostomy is a type of surgery done on the stomach. During the procedure, a gastrostomy tube (g-tube) gets placed through the abdomen which allows nutrition directly into the stomach. Having a g-tube also allows the patient to receive an adequate amount of calories to help them grow. The procedure is simple and may only require a hospital stay of one to two days, depending on the age of the patient and the reason for the procedure.

Medical Supplies Required After Gastrostomy

There are certain medical supplies that will be needed following a gastrostomy. One of the first things patients will need is a type of enteral formula. This liquid replaces actual food and comes in many different brands. A doctor will need to prescribe which formula will work best. Other medical supplies required following a gastrostomy include:

  • Extension tubes - These tubes get attached to the MIC-KEY button which protrudes from the abdomen and allows the food to go directly into the stomach.
  • Syringes - Some patients get all of their food poured into a large syringe that attaches to the extension tube.
  • Feeding bags - Some patients choose to use feeding bags that attach to the extension tube on one end and a feeding pump on the other.
  • Feeding pump - The feeding bag can be attached to a programmable feeding pump that can get set to a specific rate and dose.

Besides being used for formula, these supplies can also be used to administer liquid medications.

While having a gastrostomy is a simple procedure, the actual feeding might require some learning and getting used to for both the patient and the caretaker. In most cases, getting the procedure is an effective way to treat failure to thrive. Click here for more information about medical supplies.


9 March 2016

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