In order to provide a survey on available vaginal specula, we created this special page with images and information. We have
divided the available patterns in 6 groups:
1. Most commonly used universal vaginal specula, for general examination
2. Less common universal vaginal specula for general examination
3. Vaginal specula for general and particular examination
4. Vaginal specula for particular examination and operation
5. Single blade vaginal specula
6. Vaginal specula with single blade and separate retractor (2 piece sets)
|1. Most Common Specula
Most doctors would have one of these. They are the most widely used specula for general examination.
Can be folded up and uses little space during storage or for transportation. It opens up its jaw like a duck bill. The Cusco speculum
is available with side scew (image Cusco 1), centre screw (image Cusco 2) and in special narrow virgin size (image Cusco 3).
Has a fixed handle and blades can be opened like a duck bill as well as they can be moved apart at their base.
Similar to Grave, but narrower blades.
|2. Less common specula
Many doctors may have one of these. They are also mainly being used for general examinations.
Has relatively flat blades, which are opened by a screw close to their joint. Images show Standard (Collin 1), virgin (Collin 2)
and children (Collin 3).
Has a kind of ratchet handle for one hand use.
Only available in one size, and relatively long (some 12 cm) blades, this speculum has recently become very popular, especially in
Europe. It resembles in its basic function the Cusco with central screw, but it is a more solid and larger structure which cannot be
folded up like the Cusco.
|3. Particular specula
Usually only gynecologists who appreciate and use the special features have one of these specula
A unique design allowing adjustment of the blades with two screws.
A complex and solid structure, also allowing two dimensional movement of the blades.
Perhaps the most common one of this group. Two separate screws allow for movement and adjustment of blades in two dimensions
(ie distance and angle).
|4. Special purpose specula
Mainly used for extensive and particular examination as well as gynecological surgery, these specula are only found
with few specialized doctors. They are very special indeed and also not as easy to handle and use as any of the specula in
the previous 3 groups.
Available in 2 versions: examination and operation (surgery).
The simplest in this group. Top blade is split in two with open space in between.
- O'Sullivan O'Connor
Designed like a wound retractor with several blades its primary use is for surgery that requires secure and widest
possible access - but also extensive examination that requires this access, possibly prior to surgery. This speculum is
the most complicated one to handle and just about the most expensive of all vaginal specula.
|5. Single blade specula
These specula allow unrestricted access to some part of the
vagina by retracting only one side.
This speculum works with an attached weight and keeps the vagina open leaving both hands free for the doctor.
A classic from Austria.
This is a classic one blade speculum developed by famous American gynecologist James H. Sims well over a century ago, and
still widely being used.
Special feature is a detachable strainer at the bottom which separates any tissue, solid substances etc. from outflowing liquid.
|6. Blade & Retractor specula sets
While most of these specula can in priciple also be used like the above single blade specula, they usually come in sets that
include a second retractor blade. These Specula are generally for manual retraction without the possibility to fix the blades
in a certain position. They are therefore mainly used for visual examination and less for physical examination or any kind
of treatment or operation.
Some examples are listed and shown here - there are many more available, also most styles do not only come in different sizes but
they are available in several versions, eg. deep hollow, flat hollow etc.
Since these specula all work with the same principle and
differences are mainly in variations of blade shapes and handle shapes, we do not give any further description below.