This section is from the "Henley's Twentieth Century Formulas Recipes Processes" encyclopedia, by Norman W. Henley and others.
Murphy has found that a 4-, 6-, or 8-per-cent solution of gutta-percha in benzine, when applied to the hands of the surgeon or the skin of the patient, will seal these surfaces with an insoluble, impervious, and practically imperceptible coating— a coating that will not allow the secretions of the skin to escape, and will not admit secretions, blood, or pus into the crevices of the skin. At the same time it does not impair the sense of touch nor the pliability of the skin. A similar solution in acetone also meets most of the requirements.
Murphy's routine method of hand preparation is as follows: First, five to seven minutes' scrubbing with spirits of green soap and running hot water; second, three minutes' washing with alcohol; third, when the hands are thoroughly dried, the gutta-percha solution is poured over the hands and forearms, care being taken to fill in around and beneath the nails. The hands must be kept exposed to the air with the fingers separated until thoroughly dry. The coating is very thin and can be recognized only by its glazed appearance. It will resist soap and water, but is easily removed by washing in benzine. The hands can be washed in bichloride or any of the antiseptic solutions without interfering with the coating or affecting the skin. If the operations be many, or prolonged, the coating wears away from the tips of the fingers, but is easily renewed. For the remaining portion of the hands one application is sufficient for a whole morning's work.
The 4-per-cent solution of rubber wears better on the tips of the fingers, in handling instruments, sponges, and tissues than the acetone solution.
For the abdomen the acetone solution has the advantage, and it dries in three to four seconds after its application, while the benzine solution takes from three to four and a half minutes to make a dry, firm coating.
The preparation of the patient's skin consists in five minutes' scrubbing with spirits of green soap, washing with ether, followed by alcohol. The surface is then swabbed over thoroughly with the benzine or acetone solution.
The gutta-percha solution is prepared by dissolving the pure gutta-percha chips in sterile benzine or acetone. These solutions' do not stand boiling, as this impairs the adhesiveness and elasticity of the coating.