Stabilizing a G-tube

After a tube is placed, the tract takes about two weeks to heal. It is very important to keep the tube stable during this time. The tube should not lean or pull at the site. There are many reasons why the tube should be kept stable and secure.

Your child’s tube needs to be stabilized to:

  • Allow the tract to heal after the tube is placed. This takes about two weeks.
  • Stop problems such as granulation tissue, irritation or leaking
  • Prevent it from being accidentally pulled out. If it gets pulled out, another procedure needs to be done to put it back in.
  • Be sure the balloon or bumper is snug up against the stomach wall. This will keep formula or stomach juice from leaking. It also prevents the tube from sliding down too far into the stomach.

Reduce movement of the tube. Movement will create a larger tract. This would allow stomach juices to leak.

Ways to stabilize a tube

There are many ways to stabilize a tube. If your child is active, you’ll need to be creative and very careful to be sure the tube is stabilized at all times. Use one or more of these methods:

  • For a long tube, use a tension loop made with tape.
  • For long tube or button:
    • Use an abdominal holder or a belly band.
    • Use a one-piece body suit that has snaps. Use a “tube top” or an adult stretch headband.
    • Use a body suit or long t-shirt tucked into the pants.
    • Avoid pinning the tube to clothing. Only use a pin with children who have no risk of playing with it or removing it.
    • Run tubing through clothing and out the leg of the pants. It’s harder for the child to reach. It also helps the tubing move with the child.

Using a tension loop

A tension loop should be used with long tubes. It should also be used if a child is vented or fed continuously. A tension loop can help keep the tube:

  • Stabilized
  • From being accidentally pulled out
  • From wiggling as this can lead to site problems

There are two ways to make a tension loop. One uses a pin and one doesn’t use a pin. Only use a pin with children who have no risk of playing with it or removing it.

Regardless of which type of tension loop used, it is best to rotate the location on the belly where the tension loop is placed. This will help keep the stoma site in good condition. It is best to change the location of the loop every 1-3 days.

How to make a tension loop without a pin

  1. Use a 1x4-inch piece of tape. It is okay to cut the tape thinner if you have a smaller child. Fold it around the tube until the tape meets.
  2. Pinch the tape together where it meets.
  3. Put the ends of the tape onto the skin.

The tension loop might be closer or further away from the stoma site. It depends on the type of tube and the size of your child.

How to make a tension loop with a pin

  1. Tear two pieces of 1-inch tape about 3 inches long.
  2. On one piece, fold both ends over to make tabs. Fold this piece of tape around the tube, about 3 to 5 inches away from the dressing.
  3. On the second piece of tape, pinch the center to make a tab and leave the ends sticky. Put this piece on your child’s belly about 3 inches from the tube site.
  4. Use a safety pin to pin the two tabs together to keep the tube straight as it exits the skin.