August 16, 2023 2 min read

A Brief History on Speculums

Pelvic exams are an essential component of reproductive health. The pelvic exam detects medical conditions, such as sexually transmitted infections and ovarian cysts. It is also the method used to conduct a pap smear to screen for cervical cancer, conduct colposcopies and to examine and treat the vagina in instances of sexual trauma. The pelvic exam is aided with the use of a vaginal speculum, a medical device designed to improve visibility.  

Most clinicians still use the speculum that mirrors the design put forth over two centuries ago. The traditional duck-billed speculum, typically made out of stainless steel or plastic, has two arms that come together at a hinge, both of these arms are inserted into the vagina and then are locked into place after widening the vaginal walls to conduct an exam and visualize the cervix. This commonly used device is known to lead to discomfort and anxiety among women as the speculum can pinch the vaginal walls and can even lead to tearing in some cases. The plastic duck bill is also prone to breaking while in use, a problem for both clinician and patient. Furthermore, the traditional speculum does not allow for providers to fully visualize the cervix in order to detect and diagnose cancer or identify precursors to cancer accurately.An obstructed view of the cervix is problematic because it makes it difficult for providers to effectively diagnose and initiate treatment for cervical cancer, which will claim the lives of over 4000 women in the U.S. in 2023 (1). 

All Things Bouquet

The Bouquet SpeculumTM  is a new and innovative speculum designed to revolutionize gynecological care. Designed by Dr. Jean Bouquet, the speculum is a low-cost, plastic single-use speculum available to the US marketplace. The FDA-cleared device embodies a forward-thinking design in order to provide a more comfortable experience for patients, and allow for advanced healthcare provision by physicians. In addition to comfort, when opening and closing the speculum there is no obvious clicking or locking sound, common in other speculums, allowing patients to experience less anxiety surrounding vaginal exams.  

The 5-petal shaped speculum dilates radially and gradually enabling the speculum to evenly distribute pressure exerted from the vaginal walls for easy and effective vaginal exams and cervical cancer screenings. The design is safe for all women from adolescents to multigravida (multiple pregnancies may increase laxity of vaginal walls) patients. In fact, the five ‘positions’ where the aperture of the speculum can lock represent five sizes in one, meaning that clinicians do not need to order multiple sizes of speculum.  Moreover, the speculum is suitable and comfortable for women of all weights and affords an unobstructed view of the cervical area when used to examine the cervix of women with a higher BMI. 

The Bouquet Speculum TM  not only enables clinicians to perform all pelvic exam tasks that the traditional two-bladed speculum allows for, but it goes further to ensure maximum 360 degree cervical visibility for providers and a worry-free exam for patients. 

Check out this video to watch Dr. Jean Bouquet demonstrate how to use the speculum.


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