Gynaecology treatment table have been used since ancient Roman times. In an archaeological expedition from Pompeii, vaginal specula, curettes and dilators were discovered. The ancient vaginal specula were large and easily identifiable because they closely resemble the instruments dreaded and feared by most women having gynecological check-ups today. They maintained the same duck-billed appearance necessary for dilating and exposing the vaginal vault. Another documented instrument was the vaginal dilator or the dioptra. It was made up of a priapismus with two (2) to four (4) dovetailing valves. A handle and screw mechanism allow this device to be opened and closed, very similar to the mechanism of vaginal speculum today. Greco-Roman writers describe the dioptra as a device made especially for the vagina and recommended its use for the diagnosis and treatment of vaginal and uterine disorders. These instruments are said to be typical examples of gynecologic surgical tools for nearly a millennium since little or no innovations were made on their basic structure until the 20th century. However, very few of these devices can be seen today. The surviving instruments can only be found in museums.
Throughout the 20th century, different innovators have fashioned instruments to adapt to the growing field of gynecologic surgery. In the United States, James is recognized as the father of American Gynaecology treatment table for his significant contribution in the repair of vesicovaginal fistulas and for devising the speculum of Sim, a reinvention of the vaginal speculum, to achieve greater exposure during vaginal operations. Black slaves suffered in his efforts in perfecting vesicovaginal fistula repair because he performed these operations without anesthesia. Other innovators have fashioned and innovated ancient instruments to accommodate the needs of the modern Obstetrician-Gynecologist.
Today , a wide armamentarium exists for the Obstetrician-Gynecologist. Familiarizing oneself with these tools and how they are used is necessary in becoming an effective and skilled surgeon, because these gynaecology treatment table should be extensions of the hands of the surgeon. Retractors have evolved from handheld to self-retaining ones. Weights added to a vaginal speculum transformed it into a self-retaining vaginal retractor indispensable to procedures like curettage. In procedures like Caesarean Section and Abdominal Hysterectomy where the surgeon has to work in close proximity to the bladder, retractors like the DeLee Bladder Retractor have made it easier for surgeons to avoid injury to the bladder, lessening morbidity and intraoperative referrals. Curettes, although closely resembling their prototypes in the ancient period, have also been reinvented for better dexterity and easier usage. Innovations like the THomas curette, Sims curette and Kevorkian curette simply show the availability of instruments for any given need. Forceps and Scissors have also evolved to cater to the different tissues they are used on. Jorgenson scissor and the Mayo-Noble scissors may be used for cutting heavy tissue, while the Lister or bandage scissors are employed to cut the uterus open during Caesarean section. Disposable variants of these instruments have also been invented to ensure one time use and maintain sterility and asepsis. Every carpenter must know his tools, just like every gynecologist must know his instruments.