A Bougie refers to a thin cylinder of plastic, rubber, metal or any other material which a doctor inserts through or into a body passageway, like the oesophagus or anus, for diagnosing or treating a condition.
A Bougie dilator may be used to widen a passageway, dislodge an object or guide another instrument into a passage way. Bougies are found in numerous sizes and degrees of flexibility. They may consist of only a simple cylinder. The cylinder might be fitted with devices such as:
- An inflated balloon to apply pressure against narrowed walls or obstructions.
- A device to measure the pressure applied by the balloon.
- A wire that is placed at the site of a stricture, blockage or any other problem for guiding other instruments into the passageway.
- A channel through which it is possible to inject a dye, such that a site can be examined through a fluoroscope.
- A light to illuminate a pathway for examining.
Bougies may be used to treat blockages and strictures in the oesophagus, the anus, the rectum, the intestines, the urethra (canal passing urine from bladder to outside) and the ureters (tubes that transport urine from kidneys to bladder). A stricture refers to an abnormally narrow section of a pathway, while a blockage is an obstruction within a pathway.
A lubricated bougie may be used to remove an object lodged in the oesophagus which maybe dislodged and moved down into the stomach. The object then passes through the intestines. This procedure is feasible only when the object is not likely to damage tissue when it moves through the intestinal tract.
Bougies have advantages over other methods of dilation. They offer tactile feedback, permitting estimation of the amount of resistance to the passage of the dilator, thus avoiding perforation and over-dilation. One can search online for bougie dilator products suppliers.
Bougies equipped with balloons may be used to get rid of both blockages and strictures in the oesophagus. In a usual procedure, a lubricated bougie may be inserted with local anaesthesia. When the bougie reaches the place of blockage or stricture, the balloon is inflated. The pressure of the balloon can help to widen a narrow pathway.
Such devices, at times, play a role in treating Achalasia, a disorder in which there is abnormal functioning of muscles and nerves of the oesophagus(tube for swallowing). This results in failure of the lower-most-part (lower oesophageal sphincter) to open and permit transport of food. This sphincter maybe stretched using a bougie.
Sometimes, the bougies are equipped with lights and used in surgery related to the chest, abdomen, rectum and colon where they are used to help doctors view and identify internal structures.
The term ‘Bougie’ stems from the French word for ‘candle’. The French word emerged from the name ‘Bugia’ ascribed to a North African town which exported candles to France. Also, a Bougie resembles a candle and so English speaking doctors added the name to describe candle shaped therapeutic and diagnostic equipment.
Bougie was an apt name as such instruments originally consisted of cotton or silk rolled into a cylinder. Currently, the French word, Bougie can also mean “sparkplug” or “probe”. The English word Bougie can refer to suppositories that are inserted into the anus for treating haemorrhoids.
These are some of the uses of Bougie dilators.