Skip to Content

Improving Access in Vaginal Surgeries

Team Members:
  • Pujan Desai
  • Erin Rhoads
  • Wes Bernier
  • Jerry Wang
  • Sakina Girnary
  • Stephanie Herrera
  • Candice Gard
  • Richard Shi
  • Edith Gurewitsch, MD


To improve workflow in OB/GYN surgeries we have designed a mechanical locking arm that allows doctors to achieve secure retraction in vaginal surgeries and avoid using assistants holding hand-held retractors. The base of the arm clamps to the hospital bed and a standard hand-held retractor is fixed to the other end. The arm consists of several locking joints that can be released to adjust the retractor-arm’s position by squeezing a handle near the retractor-fixed end and re-secured by releasing this handle. This mechanism allows for quick adjustments based on the visual and tactile feedback of the clinician to meet the momentary needs of the procedure. When locked, the device securely maintains a force sufficient for retraction (~30-40 N) to allow the clinician to visualize the intended area. This retraction method provides an adequate view of the operating site (> 5 cm diameter circle) and ensures minimal intrusions of this space for periods up to 1 hr. Further, the device is versatile and can be applied in a wide range of procedures requiring vaginal access. Our solution can potentially provide retraction assistance that is more convenient for the doctor, reduces crowding of the OR space, reduces the number of personnel required, and improves overall clinical efficiency in OB/GYN.

Read the Johns Hopkins University privacy statement here.