Having a feeding tube

After surgery or during a course of radiation therapy, you may find eating and swallowing uncomfortable or difficult. A feeding tube may be inserted to help you get the nutrition you need while your throat heals. This tube is usually temporary, but sometimes it is permanent.

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How feeding tubes are used

A feeding tube can help ensure you stay well nourished and hydrated. It can also help you maintain or gain weight. If you can’t swallow medicines, check with your doctor or nurse whether these can also be given through the feeding tube. Your health care team will show you how to care for the tube to prevent leakages and blockages. They’ll also let you know when the tube needs to be replaced. If the tube falls out, let your doctor know immediately. You can help prevent infections by washing your hands before using the tube, and keeping the tube and your skin dry.

Having a feeding tube inserted is a significant change, and it is common to have a lot of questions. Adjusting to a feeding tube takes time. Talking to a dietitian or nurse can help, and a counsellor or psychologist can provide emotional support and coping strategies.

Types of feeding tubes

Temporary feeding tube

A thin tube is put through your nostril, then down the throat and oesophagus into the stomach. This is called a nasogastric or NG tube.

This is usually used if you need a feeding tube for less than 4 weeks – for example, for the first few days or weeks after surgery when you’re unable to eat.

The NG tube is usually put in and removed by a doctor or nurse. You will be given specially prepared liquid nutrition through this tube.

Temporary feeding tube

Long-term or permanent feeding tube

A tube is inserted through an opening on your abdomen into the stomach. This is called a gastrostomy tube. It may be inserted while you are under light sedation.

The tube may be inserted:

  • by endoscope (percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy or PEG)
  • under the guidance of an x-ray (radiologically inserted gastrostomy or RIG)
  • surgically (surgical gastrostomy).

Longterm or permanent feeding tube

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Instructions for downloading and reading EPUB files

Apple devices

The iBooks application must be installed on your Apple device before you can read the EPUB.
Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

  • email EPUB files to yourself and transfer the attachment to iBooks.
  • copy EPUB files into DropBox (or a similar service) and use the DropBox app to send them to iBooks.
  • open EPUB files directly from Mobile Safari and open them in iBooks, where they are saved automatically by downloading the EPUB from the website.

Need more help? Visit: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4059


To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Turn on your Kobo and your EPUB will be located in “eBooks”, while a PDF will be located in “Documents”.
Need more information? Visit: http://www.kobo.com/help/koboaura/response/?id=3784&type=3

Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

Need more help? Visit: https://au.readerstore.sony.com/apps_and_devices/

Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Kindle also provides a Kindle Personal Documents Service that allows users to send documents as an attachment directly to your eReader. For more information on this service, visit http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=help_search_1-1?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200767340&qid=1395967989&sr=1-1
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
Need more help? Visit https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200375630

Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.

This information was last reviewed in September 2019
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