Doctors insert nasogastric (NG) tubes through the nose down into the stomach. Doctors use NG tubes to feed patients or to remove air or fluid from the stomach. NG tube feeding has advantages and disadvantages.
NG tubes can be inserted without surgery, which allows doctors to insert them quickly and with less risk.
NG tubes often irritate the patient's throat and nose and may cause patients to gag. They also increase mucus secretion and increase the chances of sinusitis. In addition, NG tube feeding can cause a medical emergency if the tube inadvertently enters the lungs.
Doctors usually choose NG tubes when patients need tube feeding for a short time. Patients who require long-term tube feeding usually use gastronomy tube feeding, which involves a tube surgically placed in the stomach.