Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy and jejunostomy for long-term feeding in patients with cancer of the head and neck

M. Shike*, Y. N. Berner, H. Gerdes, F. P. Gerold, A. Bloch, R. Sessions, E. Strong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Enteral feeding is often required in patients with cancer of the head and neck. Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomies (PEGs) and jejunostomies (PEJs) can facilitate enteral feeding in patients who require this treatment. The endoscopic technique allows for the placement of feeding gastrostomies and jejunostomies without a surgical procedure and eliminates the need for nasal tubes for long-term enteral feeding. Forty-two patients with head and neck tumors were referred for placement of PEGs because of severe dysphagia induced by tumors, surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy. The procedure was performed in the gastroenterology suite. Patients were sedated with intravenous meperidine and diazepam, and local anesthetic with lidocaine was applied to the area of incision. Average procedure time was approximately 20 minutes. The procedure was successful in 39 patients in whom tubes were placed ranging in diameter from 15F to 22F. PEGs were placed in 36 patients with intact stomachs and PEJs in three patients with previous gastrectomies. The remaining three procedures were unsuccessful because of technical reasons. There were three localized skin infections, and all responded to antibiotic therapy. Neither peritonitis nor any other immediate complication occurred. In 16 nonhospitalized patients, the procedure was performed on an outpatient basis. After a mean followup of 4.5 ± 6 months of enteral feeding in the home, there was only one case of aspiration and subsequent pneumonia, and this case responded to antibiotics. No other long-term complications were noted. Thus feeding gastrostomies and jejunostomies can be placed safely and easily in patients with cancers of the head and neck by endoscopic methods without abdominal surgery. These tubes can be used for enteral feeding and eliminate the need for nasogastric tubes. They are better olerated, are of a wider diameter, and have a reduced risk for migration, clogging, and aspiration-related complications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)549-554
Number of pages6
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes


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