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MIC-KEY button verses RIG

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    MIC-KEY button verses RIG

    Hello, I am caring for my wife who has Bulbar Palsy - she had a RIG fitted in April and I feed all her nutrition and hydration through that. The RIG works fine but the tube does get in the way of movement and has to be taped up causing skin irritation (we tried belts and pouches but she cannot get on with them). She is also getting repeated skin infections under what I refer to as 'the washer' where the dangling tube rubs against the stoma. It has been suggested that she have a Mic-Key button fitted which doesn't have the dangling tube which sounds, and from the pictures I've seen, looks ideal. However, as there is no such thing as a free lunch, I was wondering what the downside(s) is/are? I understand that you have to connect a tube to the button and the syringe for feeding and I was wondering if this means you have to use a new tube for every feed or can they be cleaned like the syringes? Is anyone able to share their experiences of the pro's and con's of the Mic-Key verse the RIG? Many thanks, Duncan

    duncan146294 A warm welcome to the forum, Duncan.

    When you say "RIG", I'm taking that to mean a balloon-retained, long feeding tube?

    Yes, I have had Mic-Key buttons for 14 years and never had an issue with any.

    Yes, there is a connection tube which is attached to the button to give meds, fluids and food. These connection tubes last a few weeks and are cleaned after use and, unlike syringes, washing up liquid can be used to give them a thorough clean - tube feeds are sticky things!

    The buttons need to be changed every so often and the balloon water changed regularly, I'm sure this is part of your wife's current feeding tube care - my husband changes mine every 4-6months, a painless job which takes <1 minute.

    I have no 'cons' whatsoever, only 'pros' to having a Mic-Key button 👍👍

    If you have any other questions, just ask.

    Love Ellie xx
    ​Diagnosed 03/2007. Sporadic Definite ALS/MND Spinal (hand) Onset.
    Eye gaze user - No functional limbs - No speech - Feeding tube - Overnight NIV.


      HI Ellie,

      Thank you very much , that is just what I needed to know - the practical side of using the button (oh yes, by RIG I mean balloon retained feeding tube - the RIG and PEG are the same I believe, it is just the 'installation' method that differs, it was felt too risky for my wife to have the procedure to fit a PEG so she has a RIG).

      t looks like the Button is the right way for her to go and I am pleased to hear that the tubes can be cleaned, We hate all the additional plastic waste that we now produce with syringes and empty feed bottles. Our green (recycling) bin is now full of plastic waste! I just hope it really does get recycled :-).

      All the best



        Originally posted by duncan146294 View Post
        ... the RIG and PEG are the same I believe
        Just for the record and for future readers: no, PEG and RIG are very different.

        These terms refer to the procedures which result in a feeding tube being placed.

        PEG = Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy - feeding tube site is identified using an endoscope, the tube is passed through the mouth and fed out through the incision.

        RIG = Radiologically Inserted Gastrostomy - the feeding tube site is identified using X-rays and the tube is inserted through the incision site from the outside in. NIV can be used throughout a RIG procedure as the mouth isn't an access route.
        ​Diagnosed 03/2007. Sporadic Definite ALS/MND Spinal (hand) Onset.
        Eye gaze user - No functional limbs - No speech - Feeding tube - Overnight NIV.


          Just a thought, if irritation is due to taping the tube, we had similar so I know dont use tape and hold the tube up by fastening the end cap around the tube, thus creating a loop. (Hope that makes sense) Can't take a photo at moment as feeding.

          Carer for husband diagnosed with ALS April 2021. Hand onset. PEG fed, completely immobile, communicated with eye gaze

          Sense of humour intact throughout.

          Sadly passed away peacefully 2/9/22