G-Tube Care and Maintenance

Instructions about care of g-tubes was woefully short 9+ years ago when Little Miss got her first one. Doctors, nurses, surgeons, hospitals all fell short in helping us know how to best manage a g-tube.  I have learned many things:

1. Keep it dry as much as possible. Even let the sun get to it once it is healed. At night when sleeping, uncover the area to allow air to circulate.  One of our biggest problems emanated from too much moisture seeping out and onto the skin.

2.  Once the site is healed, bandages and ointments are not usually needed. A “flat”/low profile button is easier to manage than one with a tube protruding.  If ointment is prescribed for hypertrophic tissue, etc. be SURE to get it only on the designated area.  (Yes I have a story about this.  Maybe another time.)

3.  If anything looks strange, have your doctor LOOK AT IT. (Yes I have a story about this also. Maybe another time.) All the verbal description you can manage doesn’t compare to having it eye-balled by a doc.

4.  Check the balloon volume every 4 – 6 weeks. How does the volume reduce?  I don’t know.  But it does.  If it has reduce significantly there must be a leak and it is time to replace the button.  Little Miss’s balloon has 4 cc or ml of water in it usually.  This is enough to keep the whole thing from popping out, without taking up too much space in her tummy. 

5. Insist with your insurance company that you need at least two spare buttons on hand.  We had only one spare years ago and when we had to change the button and the new one leaked we were up a creek.  Currently, we have two at home and one at school. Just in case.

6. Keep an old button and glue it to the tummy of a doll.  You can even punch a hole in with a nail or any of multiple tools and render a doll g-tube fed. This was helpful to our daughter although she doesn’t care about it now, at nearly age 11.  Kids always like knowing they are not the ONLY ones!

7.  Remember that the inside of our stomachs are not sterile! (meaning germ-free) We put food and water and stuff in there all the time and while we try to keep germs out, they certainly get in there. Your g-tuber can bathe and do all those other normal activities without concern as long as the site is well-healed and the button is closed.

8. About those closed buttons – In the type of g-tube Little Miss has, a Mic-Key, there is a valve that closes so the stomach contents do not leak out.  This is true whether I close the g-tube or not. I’m not really sure why g-tubes are made with a closing device since it isn’t really necessary.  Probably just to make us parents feel better. 

more pointers to come…. stay tuned.  If you have any questions, just drop me a comment or email!


10 thoughts on “G-Tube Care and Maintenance

  1. I just happened to come along your site an love it! My son is 8 months and has a g tube button as well. I have a quick question- I have so much trouble keeping his granulation tissue under control. I am constantly having to put Kenalog cream on it and using silver nitrate. Do you have any reccomendations on what else I could do for him? Thanks so much. Your daughter is beautiful by the way.
    Kim Anderson

    • Kim I wish I DID have an answer for you! It is frequently said that there is no such thing as a perfect g-tube site. We used traimcinolone cream for my daughter’s hypertrophic tissue. It helped, but I did find out it was important to keep it ONLY on the granulation tissue. If you find out anything else, be sure to let me know. I’ll post it here!

      • I have used plain ole mylanta around the gtube site for ten years, for a couple of years I backed off and the granulation tissue popped back up, put the mylanta on it and within a month it’s gone !!!!!

        It really works and it’s so easy and no medicine 🙂 I do it a couple of times a week.


        • Polymem is a quadrafoam and can be cut to fit around g-tube…it will take care of the hypergranulation tissue and prevent breakdown of the peristomal area. It also comes in silver if infection is a concern. This product is far superior to anything else. I have healed horrible diabetic ulcers etc with this product.

  2. My son has a mic-key button and it he got scar tissue right away. We keep a 2×2 around it and change the dressing morning and night. In the morning I put Calmoseptine on it and at night I put triamcinolone cream then Calmoseptine on it, covered by the 2×2. Any doctor who sees it, surgeon or otherwise, asks what I do to keep it looking so brilliant. It seems to do the trick for us. I know every body is different and what works for my child may not work for yours, but it is worth a try. An owie button site is like a bad diaper rash. Usually what works for a daiper rash works for the button site.

  3. I know this is an old thread but I just wanted to leave a comment. We had the same problem with the mickey and was told by the GI doc this was a “standard” looking stoma. leaky, mucus, bleeding, uncomfortable. We switch to the corflo cubby and it dried up and granulation tissue went away. We are having trouble now because we think he needs a new size but it is sooo much better than a micky. That shouldn’t be the standard.

    • That is very interesting, Mary. Thanks for leaving your comment. I am going to use it as a post so others will be more likely to read your helpful info! Thanks!

  4. My daughter has a mi-key button. The books and training don’t answer many questions. One I recently encountered was should her button should leak unless capped. Per your post and our previous experience ; no. It has, however, begun to leak on and off. Any hints?

    • Hi Su, there is no repair for this. The valve inside the button has broken and it is time to rep,ace the button. I have gone weeks with a leaky valve, but that doesn’t work for everyone. Ine risk of keeping the leaky button in is that if your daughter’s button should become uncapped while sleeping, stomach fluids could easily leak out. This is messy, acidic, and an unnecessary loss of fluids. I would just replace the button.

  5. My daughter’s nurse told me lots of parents have good success with Butt Paste (yes, that’s the name of it, sold at Target and other stores). We tried it, and GRANULATION TISSUE VANISHED!!!

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