Read and see a short history of the examination technique called The Touch.
Read Dr. Soucasaux about the colposcope, used to examine the vulva, vagina and cervix of the uterus.
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Leer la versión en español de los siguientes temas: Anticoncepción y religión, Breve reseña - Olor - Religión y menstruación - Seguridad de productos para la menstruación.


Sims's speculum

Dr. Marion Sims, sometimes claimed as the founder of modern American gynecology, in the mid-19th century, invented the position named for him (see below) and this instrument to open the vagina to allow inspection of the cervix (neck of the womb) and interior of the uterus (womb).

The museum's three examples are shaped like his earlier one and could originate from before 1900.

SarahAnne Hazelwood kindly donated the speculum to the museum.

The metal speculum measures 7" (about 17.7 cm) in its longest dimension. One blade is about 0.25" (about 0.7 cm) wider than the other, different size blades being characteristic of the Sims'. Harry Finley made the image.
 Drawing (1903) from Dr. Howard Kelly's "Gynecology," 1928, showing Sims' position.
 Sims' speculums and a Graves' from Crossen, "Diseases of Women," 1922. I added the text.
The photos show the doctor using not a Sims speculum but a Graves bivalve speculum (see picture above) with the blades almost at a 180 degree to each other. In a future instrument page I'll show the many Graves speculums in the museum. (I added the arrows and text.)
By the way, a famous surgeon at Johns Hopkins (William Halstead) is usually credited with first using rubber gloves (see the pictures). Now (2008) Hopkins has banned them because of the danger of latex allergy.
In the first photo the examiner lifts the right labium (lip) of the vulva and inserts the blade into the vagina. Then (s)he pulls the blade toward him and pulls the buttock up. By the way, the blades are not sharp.
Photos from "Diseases of Women," Harry Crossen, M.D., St. Louis, 1922


 The examiner can now see and examine the cervix as an assistant grabs the cervix with forceps and pulls it into view.

Read and see a short history of the examination technique called The Touch.

Coppyright 2006 Harry Finley