[L. dilatare, to expand]
An instrument for dilating a muscular tubular structure, e.g., an esophagus, or for stretching cavities or openings.

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balloon dilator

A dilator that slips into a narrow structure and then inflates to widen it.

Barnes' dilator

A rubber bag filled with fluid for dilation of the cervix uteri.

Bossi's dilator

A multiple-pronged instrument formerly used to dilate the uterine cervix.

Goodell's dilator

An obsolete instrument for dilating the cervix.

gynecological dilator

An instrument for dilating the vagina or the cervix uteri.

Hegar's dilator

Graduated metal sounds that are inserted into the cervical canal and cause a graded dilation.

hygroscopic dilator

A gynecological dilator made of materials that swell after absorbing fluids from body tissues. It is used to facilitate dilation of the cervix uteri (uterine cervix), e.g., in induction of labor or in dilation and curettage.

mechanical dilator

A dilator that has a tapered end and a wider middle and is inserted progressively into a stricture until its widest point crosses the stricture and expands its diameter.

tent dilator

SEE: hygroscopic dilator.
SYN: SEE: tent dilator
SEE: Laminaria digitata

vaginal dilator

A glass, plastic, or metal device for dilating the vagina.