At the time of your surgery, your surgeon will apply a dressing called a bolster. A bolster is a type of dressing that is sewn on top of a skin graft. This dressing is to remain in place until your post op visit in clinic 5-7 days after surgery.
A bolster has two functions:
- First, it holds the skin graft in place to prevent movement of the graft on the underlying tissues, thereby allowing the blood supply to wok into the graft.
- Once cause of graft failure is the possibility of blood or serum collecting beneath the graft (raising the graft from the underlying tissues and preventing revascularization) so the second benefit of a bolster is to prevent fluid from accumulating between the underlying tissues and the graft. The bolster applies enough pressure to prevent fluid from accumulating but not so much that it will interfere with the blood supply (circulation)
- You are not to shower while the bolster is one (5-7 days after surgery).
- You may shower with your bolster on just do not let the water hit the bolster directly.
- Depending on the location of the bolster and type of graft you have (FTSG: Full thickness skin graft vs. STSG: split thickness skin graft) you may not be able to shower for a couple of weeks after your surgery. Showering will be determined by your doctor.
- If you notice oozing of fluid around the bolster, you can use a gauze or q-tip to gently dab around the bolster to absorb the drainage.
- Under no circumstances are you to attempt to remove the bolster.
For medical questions, please call:
- 812-477-6600 Evansville Office
- 812-634-6600 Jasper Office