Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) has been popular since it was introduced in 1980. Gastrostomy tubes left in place for long periods often result in unusual complications. Complications may also result from simply replacing a long-term indwelling tube. Five patients who had gastrostomy tubes in place for as long as 4 years are presented and their complications reviewed. Various methods used in treating these complications are discussed, and suggestions for their prevention are given. Gastrointestinal erosion and jejunal perforation following migration of the gastrostomy tube, persistent abdominal wall sinus tracts, and separation of the flange head with small bowel obstruction were encountered. Reinsertion of a gastrostomy tube through a tract prior to adequate maturation was also noted to lead to complications. Complications may result from gastrostomy tubes left in place for extended periods of time and during replacement procedures. Awareness of such complications along with education of caregivers and timely intervention by the endoscopist may prevent such occurrences. In some cases one can only hope to minimize morbidity. © 2003 The Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract.
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