Your child’s jejunostomy tube starts outside your child's belly, goes through their stomach, and into the midsection of their small intestine. The tube delivers food and medicine. With this help, your child will grow stronger and healthier.
It is important to take good care of the skin around the tube so that your child does not get an infection or skin irritation.
You will also learn how to change the dressing around the tube every day. Try to make this part of your daily routine.
Make sure you keep the tube protected by taping it down under a t-shirt. Do not let your child pull on the tube.
Your doctor may replace the tube every 6 months.
Cleaning the Skin around the J-tube
To clean the skin, you will need to change the bandages once a day or more if the area becomes wet or dirty.
The skin area should always be kept clean and dry. You will need:
Warm soapy water and a washcloth
Dry, clean towel
Ointment or hydrogen peroxide (if your doctor recommends)
Follow these guidelines every day for good health and skin care:
Wash your hands for a few minutes with soap and water.
Remove any dressings or bandages on the skin. Place them in the plastic bag, and throw them away.
Check the skin for redness, odor, pain, puss, or swelling. Make sure the stitches are still in place.
Apply soap and warm water to a washcloth, or dip the Q-tip in half strength hydrogen peroxide (1 tsp. hydrogen peroxide and 1 tsp. water) or other ointment that your provider recommends.
Gently wash the skin all around the tube with the washcloth or Q-tip. Try to remove any drainage or crusting on the skin and tube. Be gentle. Dry the skin well with a clean towel.
If there is drainage, place a small piece of gauze under the disc around the tube.
Do not rotate the tube. This may cause it to become blocked.
Replacing the Dressings around the Tube
You will need:
Gauze pads, dressings or bandages
Your nurse will show you how to place the new bandages or gauze around your tube and tape it securely to your abdomen.
Usually, split gauze strips are slipped over the tube and taped down on all four sides. Tape the tube down as well.
Avoid using creams, powders, or sprays near the site unless your child’s doctor tells you to.
Flushing the J-tube
To flush the J-tube, use the syringe to slowly push warm water into the side opening of the J-port.
You may rinse, dry, and reuse the syringe later.
When to Call the Doctor
Call your child’s doctor or nurse if:
The tube is pulled out
There is redness, swelling, smell, puss (unusual color) at the tube site
There is bleeding around the tube
The stitches are coming out
There is leaking around the tube
Skin or scarring is growing around the tube
Your child is vomiting
Your child’s stomach is bloated
Jennifer K. Mannheim, ARNP, Medical Staff, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, Seattle Children's Hospital; and George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.