Author(s): Cooper NA, Smith P, Khan KS, Clark TJ
BACKGROUND: Vaginoscopy, also known as the 'no-touch' technique, is an alternative method for performing hysteroscopy without the need for a vaginal speculum to view the cervix or cervical instrumentation to grasp and steady the cervix.
OBJECTIVE: To examine the effect of a vaginoscopic approach to outpatient hysteroscopy on the patients' experience of pain, compared with a traditional approach using a vaginal speculum.
SEARCH STRATEGY: MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL and the Cochrane Library were searched for relevant articles. No filters or restrictions were placed on the searches.
SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that assess pain when comparing the vaginoscopic technique versus a traditional hysteroscopy in the outpatient setting.
DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two reviewers independently selected trials. Data were abstracted on quality, characteristics and results. Meta-analyses were performed using the random-effects model to calculate the standardised mean difference (SMD).
MAIN RESULTS: There were six trials (1321 participants) [corrected]. Data from four of these were meta-analysed, and we found that the use of the vaginoscopic approach to hysteroscopy was less painful than using the traditional technique (SMD -0.44, 95% CI from -0.65 to -0.22, I(2) = 58%). There was no significant difference in the number of failed procedures between groups (P = 0.38).
AUTHOR'S CONCLUSIONS: The vaginoscopic approach to outpatient hysteroscopy is successful and significantly reduces the pain experienced by patients during the procedure, compared with traditional techniques using a vaginal speculum. Vaginoscopy should become standard practice for endoscopic instrumentation of the uterine cavity in the outpatient setting.