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Keywords:

  • Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy;
  • squamous cell carcinoma;
  • head and neck cancer;
  • complications;
  • technique

Abstract

Objectives/Hypothesis: Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy tube (PEG) placement by means of the “pull” method has been reported to result in a significantly higher complication rate when compared with “push” PEG placement. These findings have led to a renewed interest in the push, or Russell introducer, method of PEG placement at the authors' institution when PEG is required before definitive treatment of advanced head and neck cancer. The authors sought to determine whether the push method of PEG placement is associated with a lower incidence of complications in this patient population. Study Design: Nonrandomized, retrospective patient analysis. Methods: The medical records of all patients presenting to the Medical College of Georgia (Augusta, GA) who received a diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck between 1999 to 2001 were retrospectively reviewed. Patients who required PEG placement as part of their treatment comprised the study population. Results: The push PEG technique was used in 29 patients, and the pull technique was used in 50 patients. There was a statistically significant difference in the complication rate between the two techniques. Patients who underwent placement by means of the pull technique had an overall complication rate of 30% (15 of 50) versus a 0% (0 of 29) complication rate in patients undergoing the push technique (P = .0006, Fisher's Exact test). Conclusion: The push PEG technique appears to have a significantly lower risk of complications compared with the pull technique in patients with advanced head and neck cancer. The authors recommend considering the use of the push method when PEG placement is required.