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Non-oral food intake

Even with the best will and effort it may not always be possible to avoid short or extended periods of time during and/or after treatment when taking food and/or drink by mouth becomes quite impossible, or difficult enough so that you would suffer insufficient nutrition or hydration without further intervention. For a few people non-oral food intake will become a permanent fixture, either as the sole source of nutrition or to supplement insufficient food intake by mouth.

Principally non-oral feeding approaches include feeding via a feeding tube inserted into the stomach, either a so-called nasogastric (NG) feeding tube inserted through nose and oesophagus into the stomach, or a feeding tube inserted directly into the stomach through the wall of the abdomen or an intravenous drip (as gut function is relatively rarely disrupted below stomach level this is much rarer in oral and maxillofacial surgery than its use in general surgery). Learning a little more about the practical day-to-day management of feeding tubes is useful to reduce stress levels and to minimise malfunctions.