Bolster dressing for G tubes and J tubes (3067)

Key points below

for G-tubes and J-tubes

What is a bolster dressing?

A bolster dressing helps keep your child’s tube in place.  It is used for long type of tubes.  It helps keep the tube from wiggling and leaning.   

When do I change the bolster?

Change the bolster:

When changing the bolster, it is best to move it to a different spot on the belly.  This helps keep the tube from leaning on one side and making the opening larger.  This also protects the skin around the tube.

It may be easiest to plan the bolster change during your child’s bath time.  The site should still be cleaned every day.  Cleaning the site can be done without taking off the bolster.  
The tube should exit the skin and lay over the bolster dressing.  The tube should stay straight up from the tract so it does not lean.

How do I make and change the bolster?

Steps to make the bolster and secure the tube

1. Get supplies ready.tape

2. Wash your hands with soap and water.

3. Make bolster.  You can make several of them up ahead to save time.  Put them in a plastic baggie.

4. Take off the old bolster dressing.

5. Clean the skin site if needed.

6. Gently spin the tube in the tract.  This helps the stop the tube from sticking to the skin.

7. Gently pull back on the tube until the mushroom or water balloon is snug against the stomach wall.

8. Put the bolster on the skin next to the tube.  Do not put bolster in the same spot on the belly. 

9. While holding the tube straight up, lay the tube over the bolster and begin to secure.

10. Put one extra strip about 1 to 2 inches away from the bolster.  This is called a tension loop.


Call your child’s doctor, nurse, or clinic if you have any questions or concerns or if your child has special health care needs that were not covered by this information.