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Types of tubes and sutures

mushroom tubing

Mushroom tubes

A mushroom tube is a rubber tube that is put in place while your child’s stoma heals and the gastrostomy tract is formed. There are 2 main types of mushroom tubes, the Malecot and the Pezzer (at right). They have slightly different tips that hold them in place inside the stomach. The doctor who puts in the tube will decide if your child needs a mushroom tube. This type of tube usually stays in place for 6 to 8 weeks before doctors replace it with a longterm tube.

A mushroom tube is held in place with a device that secures it or with gauze. The device or gauze is changed when it gets dirty or starts to come off.

gastrostomy tube (g-tube)

Gastrostomy tubes (G-tubes)

A conventional gastrostomy tube (G-tube) (at left) is put in place through several small cuts (incisions) using tiny surgical tools. This is called a laparoscopic procedure. It can also be placed using a thin tube with a light on the end (endoscope).

The G-tube is held in place by a balloon filled with sterile water. There is a small opening (port) in the G-tube for food and another opening for medicine. A small disc (retention disc) rests on your child’s belly to hold the tube steady.

gastrojejunal tube (GJ-tube)

Gastrojejunal tubes (GJ-tubes)

Gastrojejunal tubes (GJ-tubes) are put in place through several small cuts (incisions) using tiny surgical tools. This is called a laparoscopic procedure. It can also be placed using a thin tube with a light on the end (endoscope). The GJ-tube has 3 openings (ports). The stomach (gastric) port goes into the stomach. It can be used to give fluids and medicines and remove extra fluid or air from the stomach. The intestinal (jejunal) port goes to the jejunum, a part of the small intestine. It can be used to give feedings. The balloon port is used to put water into a balloon that holds the tube steady.

Your child might get a GJ-tube if:

  • His stomach does not empty normally,
  • Food or water leaks from his stomach back into the throat (esophagus), or
  • Your child is at risk of breathing in food or water from the stomach.

This type of tube has a small disc (retention disc) that holds the tube steady on your child’s belly. Never twist or turn the tube.


Low profile tubes (buttons)

Low profile tubes are also called buttons. They can go to the stomach (gastric button) or the stomach and intestines (gastrojejunal button) depending on what your child needs. The gastric button has one (1) opening (port) that goes to the stomach. The gastrojejunal button has 2 ports. One port goes to the stomach and the other port to the intestine (jejunum).

Mickey® gastric button

Mickey® gastric button

Mini One® gastric button

Mini One® gastric button

Mickey® gastrojejunal button

Mickey® gastrojejunal button

Mini One® gastrojejunal button

Mini One® gastrojejunal button

Low profile tubes (buttons) are close to the surface of the skin instead of sticking out like a tube. This makes them easier to cover with clothing and less likely to be pulled out. These tubes are held in place with a small balloon filled with sterile water. Doctors might place it during a gastrostomy, or the button might replace a mushroom tube or regular G-tube or GJ-tube. If the regular tube is replaced with a button, this is done 6–8 weeks after the first surgery.

To use a button, you connect a device to the ports. Your child can get feedings one (1) at a time or continuously through the gastric port. Only continuous feeds can be given through a jejunal port.

Your St. Jude team might teach you how to replace a button in case it gets pulled out by accident.

Retention sutures

Retention sutures

The doctor will probably stitch your child’s stomach to the wall of the belly during the gastrostomy procedure. The stitches are called retention sutures. They keep the tube from moving out of position if it gets pulled on by accident. Some doctors put the stitches inside the stomach, and other doctors put them on the belly. They look like small buttons on your child’s skin. The doctor might take out the stitches within 14 days or wait until they fall off. Special care should be taken when cleaning around the sutures. Please read “Do You Know… Skin Care and Dressings for Feeding Tube Sites.”

If the sutures do fall off, tell your St. Jude team.


To learn more about types of tubes or sutures or if you have questions, please talk to your child’s clinical nurse specialist.


This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.

St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

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