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Gastrostomy, Skin Level Device (Mic-Key)

(757) 668-7000

Your child had a gastrostomy placed. This is an opening into the stomach for feedings and fluids. Now that your child’s gastrostomy site is healed, the tube will be replaced with a "skin level device." This skin level device is called a G-button, (brand name, Mic-Key®). This device will:

  • allow your baby/child to sleep on his/her stomach
  • allow your baby to crawl more easily
  • not be pulled out easily
  • not get in the way of clothing
  • be hidden from view

The doctor or nurse specialist will place the first G-button. Placing the G-button may cause a small amount of bleeding but it will not bleed for long. When the device is changed in the office you will receive instructions on how to replace it at home. G-buttons usually need to be replaced every 4-6 months.

Checking the balloon weekly:

The retention balloon of the Mic-Key needs to be checked once a week. This balloon keeps the G-button in place.

  • Insert a 10 cc slip tip syringe into the balloon inflation valve port.
  • Pull back on the plunger of the syringe.
    • If your child weighs more than 10 pounds, you should pull out 5 ml of water.
    • If your child weighs less than 10 pounds you should pull out 3 ml of water.
  • If the amount of water is correct, use the syringe to put the water back in.
  • If the amount of water is a little less than expected, add more water to the syringe before you put it back in the balloon.
    • Example: Your baby weighs 12 pounds and you expect to get 5ml of water back. You only get 4 ml. Add 1 ml to the 4ml and put it back through the balloon inflation valve.
  • If you don't get any water back (or very little) replace the Mic-Key button as you were taught.

Daily Care:

  • Clean the area gently with soap and water. Pat dry.
  • Once a day, turn the device in a circle.

Special Care:


  • The G-button may move up and down because it is loose and does not fit snugly against the stomach. Make sure the balloon is still fully inflated. Your child's nurse will show you how. You can place pre-cut split gauze pads under the button to make a tight fit against the stomach. Change these pads when they become wet.
  • If formula is leaking from the middle of the Mic-Key®, notify the home health nurse or nurse specialist.

Skin Irritation

    The skin around the button may get red and irritated when there is leakage. The leakage can burn the skin. Preventing the leakage is the best way to protect the skin. If irritation occurs, you can apply antacid to the skin (for example, Maalox®). Let the antacid sit in a small container for about an hour. Pour off the watery liquid on top and apply the thick antacid on the skin. If the irritation gets worse, a skin barrier (ointment) may be used. Your child's nurse can recommend an ointment.

Tissue Overgrowth

    Over time, your child may develop a bump on the side of the button, this is called tissue overgrowth. Tissue overgrowth looks like your gums, pink and moist. It can cause pain, bleeding, or leaking. This is not harmful, but can change the fit of the button. The nurse specialists in the surgery office can help you treat tissue overgrowth.

Call the surgery office at 668-7703 if:

  • There is a large area of redness around the device.
  • There is yellow or green drainage from around the device.
  • There is swelling around the device.
  • Fluids and feedings leak around the device.
  • There is a continuous leakage problem.
  • You have questions about checking the balloon or changing the device.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.

Reviewed: 05/2009

(757) 668-7000