An Improved TEP Cleaning Tool
    
Whether you wear the longer wearing indwelling prosthesis or the type you install and remove yourself, either one can last longer if you keep it clean. Mucous can accumulate on the inside of the prosthesis entering from the stoma side, and food can block the valve by sticking to the esophagus side. Even if you wear the kind of prosthesis you remove yourself, you do not want to take it out more than necessary. One way to avoid having to remove it is to flush water through it while it is still in place. The usual way to do that is with a flushing pipet. This is an example of a pipet available from Inhealth (BK4050, 3/$6.50) :


     The pipet is made out of transparent plastic except for the solid white rubber sleeve to the left in the photograph. The pipet is designed to be used by filling it with water by squeezing the bulb while holding the tip in fresh clean water (warm water works best), inserting the tip into the prosthesis, and squeezing the water through it and into the esophagus. 

     But you could improve the functioning of the pipet if you could increase the pressure and the amount of water going through it. One way to do this is to combine the pipet with a hypodermic or oral medication syringe. The 5 and 10 cc ones are good sizes to use. While possession of a hypodermic syringe is restricted in some states to those with a prescription, you may have access to one where you live. Your pharmacist should know your state laws in this area. An alternative is to use a syringe designed for dispensing oral medications to children and infants. 

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