A method and apparatus for the percutaneous placement of gastro-intestinal tubes, the apparatus comprising a longitudinal penetration device; a hollow, tapered dilator; and a sheath having a central lumen extending therethrough. The penetration device is placed within the sheath, pushed distally to penetrate the target organ, and then removed from the sheath. After the penetration device is removed, the dilator is inserted into the central lumen of the sheath until it penetrates the target organ, so that the sheath and the penetration are radially dilated as the dilator passes through the sheath. The sheath is then pulled in the proximal direction to counter-balance the distal insertion force. A gastro-intestinal tube is inserted into the hollow center, and pushed distally until it exits the distal end of the dilator. The dilator and sheath are then removed from the target organ.