Tube feeding is a way to provide nutrition when you cannot eat or drink safely by mouth. This can happen if you are unconscious or have trouble swallowing. Besides nutrition, tube feeding can provide fluids and medicines. It can also be used to remove stomach contents. The types of tubes used include the nasogastric tube (NG tube), the gastrostomy tube (G-tube or PEG-tube), and the jejunostomy tube (J-tube or PEJ-tube). The NG tube is inserted through the nose and is used for a short time. The G-tube and J-tube are inserted through a small incision in the skin on the abdomen and are for longer-term use.
Review Date 8/12/2021
Updated by: Michael M. Phillips, MD, Emeritus Professor of Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.