Head and Neck Oncology


Upile T, Stimpson P, Christie M, Mahil J, Tailor H, Jerjes WK. Use of gel caps to aid endoscopic insertion of nasogastric feeding tubes: a comparative audit. Head Neck Oncol. 2011 May 7;3:24.



Nutrition is crucial to successful outcomes in peri-operative head and neck cancer patients. Nasogastric feeding tubes are an accepted and safe method of providing enteral nutrition in the short-term. Many methods have been advocated for successfully inserting and securing nasogastric tubes and each practitioner will have his or her preferred technique.


To confirm the effectiveness of using gel caps combined with the flexible nasendoscope for the insertion of nasogastric feeding tubes in head and neck cancer patients following failure of traditional methods.


Thirty-five consecutive patients requiring nasogastric feeding tubes were included in this comparative audit. All had failed traditional insertion methods after 2 attempts and were therefore eligible for inclusion. Patients were randomised to undergo attempted insertion with the flexible nasendoscope with or without the use of a gel cap (both methods have been previously described).

Audit Outcome

Primary outcome measures showed no significant difference between the two techniques.


We found the methodology to be of no greater benefit to our patients when compared to our alternative current practice for failed blind nasogastric tube insertion. We retain this methodology in our armamentarium for difficult circumstances but have continued with our standard practice for most patients needing nasogastric tube placement.

Corresponding Author

Tahwinder Upile (mrtupile@yahoo.com)