Care & use of a mic-key button feeding tube

Updated July 20, 2017

There are many people who are not able to take enough food or any food through their mouths. This is often due to a neurological condition such as a brain injury. Other medical conditions also make adequate oral intake impossible. In these cases, a gastrostomy ( an opening in the skin that goes directly into the stomach) is placed. A port inserted into the hole makes it possible to keep the site open so that feedings can be given. One such port is called a MIC-KEY Low Profile feeding tube.


The MIC-KEY button needs to be changed approximately every two months or when in becomes loose to the skin or leaky. The button should spin freely but not pull too far away from the gastrostomy site. Once the user is accustomed to how it should feel, it is easy to tell when the MIC-KEY needs changing. It is important to keep a supply of extra buttons handy. An extension set that connects to the button is required to access the port and deliver food or medicine. It locks into place and can also be used to vent excessive air from the stomach. The prescribed formula is needed along with syringes.

The Gastrostomy Site

Keep the skin around the MIC-KEY button clean and dry. Some users place gauze around the button to protect the skin. The manufacturer states that dressings are not necessary, but does recommend cleaning and inspecting the area daily.


Before each feeding, placement of the button should be checked by attaching the extension and a syringe filled with 10ml of water. Pull back on the syringe to be sure you are able to aspirate stomach contents. Once stomach contents are visible, flush the water back into the button. Depending upon feeding equipment, formula can be delivered by bolus (in a short period of time) or using a delivery pump over a long period of time. They are equally effective, but some people tolerate one or the other better.


Medications should be in liquid form. If pills or capsules are necessary, check with the pharmacy to see if it is safe to crush them and dilute with water for administration through the MIC-KEY. Using a luer slip syringe, it is possible to inject medication directly into the MIC-KEY without connecting an extension.

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About the Author

Brenda Thamm has written several essays and stories about her experiences as a registered nurse. She is a graduate of Leominster Hospital School of Nursing and attended the University of New Hampshire and Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. She has been writing for more than 30 years.