Many new technologies have been introduced to enhance the diagnosis precision of colposcopy, objectively guide the biopsy site and assess the dysplastic condition of the epithelium. These include fluorescence spectroscopy, electrical impedance spectroscopy, diffuse reflectance spectroscopy, and/or variations thereof. Other technologies such as optical coherence tomography and polarimetric imaging have also been used to better define lesions. Not only have the adjunct use of technology, but also compact user-friendly tools been developed that have improved colposcopy distribution in remote areas.
All about colposcopy
Colposcopy is a medical imaging technique for the examination of the illuminated, magnified vision of the cervix as well as of the vagina and vulva. Many pre-malignant lesions and malignant lesions in these areas have discernible features that can be identified by inspection. The colposcopy procedures are done using a colposcope.
It offers a magnified view of the areas, enabling the colposcopist to visually differentiate normal from unhealthy appearing tissue and to take directed biopsies for further pathological examination. The main objective of colposcopy is to avoid cervical cancer through early diagnosis and treatment of precancerous lesions. The procedure was developed by Hans Hinselmann [de], a German surgeon, with the help of Eduard Wirths. The creation of colposcopy included research on Jewish inmates from Auschwitz.
What are colposcopes?
Colposcopes are the tools used to perform a colposcopy, a diagnostic process that illuminates and magnifies the cervix and the vaginal region. It is a common practice in obstetrics and gynecology to treat any problems or abnormalities in these large reproductive areas of the female body. Added accessories can include a camera or LCD monitor for documentation or subsequent analysis. Most colposcopes are flexible on wheeled mounts that can be arranged in any manner that is convenient for the caregiver and the patient.
Colposcopes can be customized with additional or replacement accessories to better fit every OB/GYN practice. Eyecups are plastic cases over the lenses where users look to see the diagnostic site. There are eye cups available in different sizes for better fit and comfort. Eyepieces provide magnification and customizable diopters for zoom in and out of the treatment area. Cameras can be a critical aspect of a colposcopy to monitor the outcome of a patient's medical appointment. Depending on the size of the colposcope, users have a range of camera types to choose from, some of which are attached to the device, and some of which are detachable.
Colposcopes for different medical applications:
Colposcopic examination involves detailed visualization of the vulva and vagina, inspection of the cervix before and after application of acetic acid (common household vinegar), biopsy of suspicious lesions, and endocervical screening in certain people. Also the basic white light (as seen during the Pap test) and the green light are used for the colposcopy. The green filter improves the visualization of the blood vessels by making them appear darker in contrast to the underlying epithelium.
A speculum is inserted while examining the perineum, vulva, and cervix for lesions using white light and magnification of the colposcope. Some colposcopists can replicate the Pap test during the examination; however, both retrospective and prospective trials have demonstrated minimal clinical utility of replicating either liquid-based or traditional cytology at the time of colposcopy. Screening for gonorrhea and chlamydia can be required in high risk populations.
Cervical cancer screening
If a patient has any signs that indicate cancer or if your Pap test results display irregular cells, you will require a treatment called colposcopy. The colposcope is an device that sits outside the body and has magnifying lenses. This makes the doctor see up next to the surface of the cervix. Colposcopy itself is usually no more uncomfortable than any other highly speculative exam. This can be achieved safely, even if the patient is pregnant. Unlike the Pap test, it's best not to do that during the menstrual period.
Several forms of biopsies may be used to treat cervical pre-cancers and cancers. If the biopsy will completely extract all unhealthy tissue, it could be the only treatment required. For example , in the case of colposcopic biopsy, the cervix is examined with a colposcope to identify suspicious areas. A small (about 1/8-inch) part of the irregular region on the surface of the cervix is collected using a biopsy forceps. The biopsy procedure may cause mild cramping, short pain, and some slight bleeding.
Top trends that are raising the adoption of colposcopes across the medical world:
The handheld colposcope is experiencing a rapid demand industry-wide. This can be attributed to increasing handheld colposcope usage due to a simple interface, improved workflow, improved health facilities, superior tracking capabilities, and advanced modes. In addition, improved image contrast ratios and the benefits of each strategy are expected to maximize the market traction of this product as compared to a standard-of-care digital colposcope.
Through its advanced characteristics, which include compact scale, portability, ease of use, flexibility, and extended battery life, the system is assumed to convert the colposcopic procedure. By costing as little as most stationary colposcopes and providing capabilities for both anti-fogging and waterproofing functions, the system is best matched, regardless of their location or severity.
The rising prevalence of cervical cancer around the globe
Cervical cancer is a preventable disease. It is also curable if detected early and adequately treated. Yet it remains one of the most common cancers and the cause of cancer-related death in women across the globe. As stated by the World Health Organization, by 2030, the annual number of new cases of cervical cancer would reach up to 700,000. Until then, the annual number of deaths would also increase exponentially.
More than 85% of those affected are young of an age, are poor, or are the undereducated women who live in the world’s poorest countries. Most of these women are also mothers of young children whose survival is subsequently truncated by the premature death of their mothers. In an effort to eliminate cervical cancer as a public health problem, there has been visible political support from international and local leaders. Also, multisectoral partners are working towards the cause of coordinated cooperation. There have been effective approaches to resource mobilization.
Innovations in cervical cancer diagnostics
Cervical cancer was once a leading cause of death for American women according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). The mortality rate fell dramatically with the wider use of the pap smear test that detects improvements in the cervix to enable quicker diagnosis and more effective treatment of the disease. Over the past 15 years, however, the numbers stabilized as pap smear tests reached the limits of their precision. Females can be usually hesitant to undergo tests and to wait for analytical times. As a result, as they reach middle age and even beyond, cervical cancer continues to be a threat to women.
It can be stressful to wait for conventional pap smear analysis – for as long as three weeks, after which further testing may still be needed. Market giants aim to relieve the burden with point-of-care detection technology that will provide an immediate diagnosis. The system is contained in a sterile, disposable cover so that it can be inserted securely and easily to enter the cervix of the patient. A high-definition digital colposcope is directed to the center of the cervix by an algorithm, where the colposcope emits light and collects its reflection. The light where the cervical tissue reflects indicates the location of any cancerous or pre-cancerous lesions.
Technological developments in the colposcopes market would promote screening for cervical cancer. This would further fuel demand development over the coming years. Duke University researchers also created a Pocket Colposcope in 2017, which reduces the need for speculum and allows self-screening.
Free Valuable Insights: Global Colposcopes Market to reach a market size of USD 638.3 million by 2026
This speculum-free colposcope enables images on a laptop or smartphone and makes cervical cancer screening more accessible to women living in low-resource areas, increasing the demand for colposcopes. In addition, government-initiated cancer prevention campaigns, equitable payment plans, and the introduction of emerging technology would dramatically fuel market growth.