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Flexible versus rigid endoscopes for outpatient hysteroscopy: a prospective randomized clinical trial

G Unfried, F Wieser, A Albrecht, A Kaider, F Nagele
Human Reproduction 2001, 16 (1): 168-171
To evaluate patient acceptance, optical properties and the clinical feasibility of flexible compared with rigid hysteroscopes, 142 patients undergoing outpatient hysteroscopy were included in a prospective, randomized clinical trial. The flexible hysteroscope was used in 70 patients, and the rigid instrument in 72. At different stages of the hysteroscopy the level of pain experienced by the women was assessed using a 10 cm visual analogue scale. Optical properties characterized by the parameters intrauterine visibility, hysteroscopic view and diagnostic accuracy were ranked by the surgeons using a 5-point scale (1 = excellent to 5 = insufficient), and duration of the hysteroscopy was measured. Hysteroscopy was successful in 87.5 and 100% of patients in the flexible and rigid groups respectively. With the use of rigid telescopes, discomfort at introduction and during the hysteroscopy was significantly greater (median 1.7 versus 0.7, P = 0.003; 3.1 versus 1.2, P < 0.001 respectively), but optical properties were judged to be far superior (P < 0.001 for all three comparisons) and procedure time was significantly shorter (median 70 versus 120 s, P = 0.003). In conclusion, outpatient hysteroscopy seems to be less painful when using flexible telescopes. However, rigid hysteroscopes provide superior optical qualities and permit a more rapid performance with higher success rates at much lower cost.

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