Vaginal speculum

Vaginal speculum
Vaginal speculum

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Vaginal Speculum

What is a vaginal speculum?

In general, a vaginal speculum is a medical device used mainly in gynecological examinations. Consisting of two blades, this instrument is either disposable and made of plastic or polystyrene, or reusable and made of metal and autoclavable. It is designed to examine the vaginal cavity of the cervix and its walls. By widening the vaginal cavity by separating the walls, this instrument allows the practitioner to better visualize the vaginal cavity of the patient, and therefore to provide a more precise diagnosis.

It comes in different forms and works to push apart the walls of the cavity or duct examined by the specialist. The shape and diameter of the model used during a vaginal examination are adapted according to the morphology of the auscultated parts of each patient and the size of his obstetric pelvis. In gynecology, the most commonly used are the spoon-shaped models of Sims, the flat models of Dean, the bicuspid models of Cuzco.

The gynecological speculum is used to perform pelvic exams to detect problems with the vagina, cervix and other reproductive organs. It facilitates the examination and diagnosis of these organs for gynecologists, in particular during bacteriological sampling, examination of lesions, biopsy curettage, colonoscopy, installation of an IUD or of in vitro fertilization.

What are the most common models of vaginal specula in gynecology?

The so-called “Cusco” model, named after the French surgeon Édouard-Gabriel Cusco (1819 - 1894), is a bivalve speculum made up of two blades in the shape of a duckbill which separate the walls of the vagina. It is often designed in stainless steel and its components are generally removable. The Cusco speculum is one of the main disposable specula used in the field of gynecology, especially in obstetrics. No gynecological practice can do without it, because it is both practical and multi-use. Its use does not require any assistance, and it serves not only to examine the walls of the vagina and cervix, but also to carry out certain procedures or manipulations in parallel such as the smear of the cervix. This medical instrumentation comes in three models: lateral, central and narrow. It is usually 80 millimeters long and 22 millimeters wide. However, smaller and larger sizes are available in the medical device market.

The so-called “Collin” model, very similar to the previous one, is a vaginal speculum with two removable valves. It can be disposable or reusable. Collin's vaginal speculum usually has rounded edges that make contact with the patient less unpleasant. It offers many advantages and is highly appreciated by practitioners and patients alike. Its lateral opening allows gynecologists and midwives to have better visibility and increased accessibility to the cervix. It is highly recommended for all examinations that require practicability and good visibility. Thus, it can be used in various gynecological acts such as the insertion or removal of the IUD, the smear of the cervix or any other type of vaginal sampling.

To adapt to all patients, the Collin speculum and the Cusco speculum exist in different versions and different sizes. The pediatric speculum, for example, is a shorter version that is used to examine infants and children. Ditto for the “virgin woman speculum” which reduces the risk of perforation of the hymen (the small membrane which partially obstructs the vaginal orifice).

Disposable model vs reusable model

The disposable vaginal speculum is a widely used model during gynecological examinations. It is generally affordable and made of a plastic material that is more comfortable for patients. It has a very smooth surface to avoid any risk of injury to the mucous membrane. Its use considerably reduces the risk of infection in patients during the examination. Like all disposable medical instruments, the disposable vaginal speculum does not require sterilization, as it is always marketed already sterile and in individual packaging.

The reusable vaginal speculum is made of a metallic material, most often stainless steel or titanium. It is more resistant, durable and keeps perfectly for a long time. Like the disposable model, the reusable vaginal speculum is available in multiple sizes to adapt perfectly to the morphology of each patient. Its use requires sterilization between each use to avoid any risk of spreading bacteria or infectious diseases. If the rules of sterilization are respected, its use is safe for patients.

Different sizes for maximum discomfort!

Today, the gynecological speculum is available in four different sizes so that it can best adapt to all situations. The choice of a size by the professional is generally influenced by many factors such as the age of the patient, her physique, her sexuality, whether she has already given birth or not, etc. A wrong choice of size can cause the patient a lot of discomfort and even injury. Therefore, the professional must be very careful when choosing the vaginal speculum to use, especially with regard to the size.

The main sizes of gynecological specula can look like this:

  • XS – This is the smallest size available. XS models are used to examine young girls and adolescents whose genitals are not yet fully formed.
  • S - With a diameter of approximately 23 mm, size S models are generally used when examining virgin patients.
  • M - with a diameter of approximately 26 mm, size M models are designed for gynecological examination of thin adult patients who have already given birth to one or more children.
  • L - with a diameter of approximately 30mm, L models are typically used by a gynecologist when examining patients with larger sizes and shapes.

About the author
My name is Natalia. After a long experience in import-export of baby items in a large international brand, I became interested in the Medical Device sector. I am currently an expert in purchasing procedures for medical equipment in hospitals, geriatrics and pharmaceuticals. In this Placemed blog, I decided to write about medical news that might interest you.

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