The Consequences of Using Metal Speculums on Patients

Metal Speculum

The metal speculum is still a commonly used medical tool among women’s health clinicians. Benefits to using a metal speculum include its sturdy material, its seemingly low economic impact, and its effect on medical waste consumption as a whole. Metal speculums have been used by physicians for decades; however, the medical tool still presents its challenges – especially to patients.


Patient Discomfort


Traditional metal speculums are made of medical steel. This medical steel features a hard, cold exterior like any other metal product. A patient will either positively or negatively respond to the speculum’s material, ultimately affecting the way that particular speculum performs. Some patients do not mind the feeling of medical steel. More often than not though, other patients will cringe at the touch of metal during a pelvic exam. If a patient experiences discomfort during a medical appointment, she may avoid making future appointments or leave the practice altogether if that initial discomfort is traumatic. She also may communicate her experience with loved ones or on a public forum where potential new patients can see.


Increased Distractions


The success of a pelvic exam is largely based on a women’s health clinician’s ability to perform comprehensive tasks while staying focused. The standard metal speculum may be noisy to operate, exhibiting ratcheting sounds when manipulated. Additionally, the physician may have trouble completing the exam if the patient is uncomfortable or distracted by foreign sounds and sensations. If both the physician and patient are distracted by operational issues, a vaginal exam will be difficult to carry out.


Increased Risk of Cross-Contamination


Metal speculums are reusable medical devices. Therefore, they have the ability to expose patients and physicians to cross-contamination. Its intricate design has unique crevices, bolts, and openings. Biological debris can easily hide within these areas after just one use. If metal speculums are not sterilized properly before or after use, harmful pathogens are likely to transfer to another patient or individual. That being said, sterilization alone may not be enough to ensure a metal speculum will not contribute to local cross-contamination.


Cyalume Medical’s SpecuLume EZ is the plastic, single-use speculum solution clinicians and patients prefer. It is disposable, environmentally friendly, and safe to use on patients. Best of all, the SpecuLume EZ features chemiluminescent technology, attachable lighting that emits a no-heat glow for up to 15 minutes. The SpecuLume EZ delivers ideal diffused light to the examination area, so the clinician can perform a successful and comfortable vaginal exam. To learn more about the SpecuLume EZ, contact the experts at Cyalume Medical.

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