Replacing a G-Tube

We’ve had several occasions over the years to replace Little Miss’s G-Tube. One morning I was awakened by a little-girl voice saying, “here Mom” with her little hand holding the g-tube that had escaped its belly! 

Under less urgent circumstances we know the g-tube needs replacing when:

  • stomach fluids are leaking out onto her belly or clothing
  • checking the balloon volume (every 4-6 weeks) shows significant fluid loss (50 – 75% of fill volume)
  • this happens approximately every 3 – 6 months


Checking Balloon Volume

Checking Balloon Volume











Supplies to keep on hand for changing or reinserting g-tube:

  • two syringes for emptying and refilling the balloon
    • one syringe for emptying the current g-tube’s balloon, one syringe to fill the new g-tube’s balloon – fill this one with the amount of water you need to use for the new g-tube
  • small bottle of sterile water  (unless your doc advises differently liquid) 
    • sterile water is not necessary, but ensures you have clean water nearby for quick replacement
  • lubricant for insertion – I use vaseline in small packets to make sure it is clean. 


  • First lay out a clean cloth and put the new g-tube on it, with pre-filled syringe attached to the syringe.
  • Place empty syringe on the cloth
  • Put lubricant on the new g-tube
  • Attach empty syringe to current g-tube, extract fluid – allow several seconds for all the fluid to go into the syringe.  You are basically vacuuming the fluid out.
  • Gently pull out the old g-tube – there will be some resistance as the balloon never collapses to its original state.
  • Pick up new g-tube and insert. Push syringe barrel in to empty water into balloon. 
  • Wipe up any excess lubricant and you are done! Way to go!

    IF the g-tube was pulled out during the night and the hole has started to close, there are some things you can try short of going to the hospital.  See my post titled G-tube Channel. 

    NONE OF MY INSTRUCTIONS OVERRULE WHAT YOUR DOCTOR HAS INSTRUCTED! Although for us, sometimes my methods have worked better, but I do not want you to take that as medical advice and have any problems!


    No crashing and burning allowed:


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