The two main types of feeding system are enteral tube feeding or enteral nutrition (EN) and parenteral nutrition (PN). The type of system used depends on a number of things.
Enteral tube feeding or 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 the best system if your digestive system is working but you are not 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 is not possible to take nutrients through your digestive system.
PN is usually used if people are not able 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. This 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.