"Tongue sandwich" bolster for skin graft immobilization

Charles E. Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background. Because of surface irregularities and continuous movement of the tongue, predictable immobilization of split-thickness skin grafts (STSGs) for tongue defects is difficult to achieve. Methods. A novel composite, bilayer foam bolster was used to immobilize a STSG after reconstruction of more than 80% of the tongue mucosa after resection of a squamous cell carcinoma and extensive leukoplakia. Dorsal and ventral bolster components were placed over the STSG and affixed using transglossal, through-and-through sutures. Results. The composite foam bolster provided uniform compression along the highly irregular and mobile skin-grafted surface. Graft survival was excellent, and there were no complications. Conclusions. The "tongue sandwich" bolster is quickly and easily fabricated, immobilizes the tongue in a fully expanded position, and provides excellent apposition of STSGs to highly irregular and vascular surfaces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)705-709
Number of pages5
JournalHead and Neck
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2002


  • Bolster dressing
  • Reconstruction
  • Skin transplantation
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Surgical flaps
  • Tongue

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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