Two main types of feeding system are used, known as enteral nutrition (EN) and parenteral nutrition (PN). The type of nutritional support you have depends on a number of factors.
Enteral nutrition (EN)
This is where the nutritional fluid is given into the gut through a tube going into the stomach, or small intestine. There are different ways of giving EN.
EN is best for you if your digestive system is working normally, but you aren't able to eat enough - for example, because of a cancer in the head or neck area.
Parenteral nutrition (PN)
This is where the nutritional fluid is given through a tube that is put into a vein (intravenously). PN aims to provide nutritional support when it isn’t possible to take nutrients through your digestive system.
PN is usually used if people are unable to have EN. This may be due to major surgery on the small bowel, a bowel obstruction or a difficulty with inserting the tubes used for EN. Difficulty with inserting EN tubes may happen after some types of surgery to the head, neck or stomach.
We have a section on diet after stomach surgery, which you may find helpful.