Preparation.—Bougies are made by dipping strips of soft linen cloth, bundles of thread, etc., rather wider at one end than at the other, into certain emplastic or elastic compositions, folding them closely, and rolling them firmly on a smooth slab. Ready-made bougies are now a regular article of commerce. The following are some of the compositions held in most repute:
- BELL'S.—Lead plaster 4 ounces, yellow wax, 1 ½ ounces, olive oil 3 drachms.
- HUNTER'S.—Olive oil 3 pounds, yellow wax 1 pound, red lead 1 ½ pounds; boil together over a slow fire until combined.
- SWEDIAUR'S WHITE.—White wax 1 pound, spermaceti 3 drachms, acetate of lead from 2 drachms to 1 ounce; boil together slowly.
- PIDERIT'S WAX.—Yellow wax 6 parts, olive oil 1 part.
- GOULARD'S.—Yellow wax 6 ounces, melted and mixed by stirring with Goulard's extract of lead, from 2 drachms to 2 ounces.
- ELASTIC.—Boiled linseed oil 12 ounces, amber 4 ounces, oil of turpentine 4 ounces, in which is dissolved caoutchouc 5 drachms. Melt and mix the articles well together, and spread the compound at three successive intervals upon a silk cord or web. Place the pieces so coated, in a stove-oven heated to 65.5° C. (150° F.), and leave them in it for 12 hours, adding 15 or 16 fresh layers in succession, until the instruments have acquired the proper size. Polish first with pumice stone, and finally smooth with tripoli and oil.
Surgical Uses.—Bougies are usually employed for dilating strictures, as of the urethra, vagina, neck of the uterus, and rectum. The largest size that can be conveniently introduced is first used, and the size gradually increased as the treatment progresses. The wax bougie is often employed for obtaining the form of a urethral stricture, its location and distance from the external orifice.