Compresses, in surgery, are very useful applications, for preventing a wound from bleeding, or swelling, as well as in the treatment of aneurisms, ruptures, and indoLent tumors of every kind. They generally consist of folded pieces of linen cloth, so contrived as to make a gentle pressure upon any particular part. - After the plaster and other dressings are applied, surgeons frequently cover the whole with a compress, to secure and fix their applications, and to preserve the parts from the in-juries of external air, which would retard the process of healing.
Compresses are likewise frequently used, where no plasters are required; and in this case, ei-ther dry, or moistened with certain liquors, which are supposed to be strengthening, emollient, cooling, etc. For such purpose, they are dipped into decoctions of different herbs, into wine, spirits, vinegar, lime-water, solutions of alum, sal-ammoniac, etc. either hot or cold, according to the nature of the case. But the principal use of compresses appears to be that of filling up any cavity or depression of the parts, so that the dressings, especially in fractures, may be applied with greater security; and to prevent the bandages from occasioning a troublesome irritation, or other pain and uneasiness on the skin. Hence they ought to be cut out in circular pieces, nicely adjusted to the diseased parts, and each of them progressively increasing in diameter.