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2011 Colposcopic Terminology of the International Federation for Cervical Pathology and Colposcopy

Bornstein, Jacob, MD, MPA; Bentley, James, MB, ChB; Bösze, Peter, MD; Girardi, Frank, MD; Haefner, Hope, MD; Menton, Michael, MD; Perrotta, Myriam, MD; Prendiville, Walter, MD; Russell, Peter, MD; Sideri, Mario, MD; Strander, Björn, MD; Tatti, Silvio, MD; Torne, Aureli, MD; Walker, Patrick, MD

doi: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e318254f90c
Current Commentary

New colposcopy terminology was prepared by the Nomenclature Committee of the International Federation of Cervical Pathology and Colposcopy after a critical review of previous terminologies, online discussions, and discussion with national colposcopy societies and individual colposcopists. This document has been expanded to include terminology of both the cervix and vagina. The popular terms “satisfactory colposcopy” and “unsatisfactory colposcopy” have been replaced. The colposcopic examination should be assessed for three variables: 1) adequate or inadequate, with the reason given; 2) squamocolumnar junction visibility; and 3) transformation zone type. Other additions were the localization of the lesion to either inside or outside the transformation zone and determinants of size as well as location of cervical lesions. Two new signs were included in the terminology—the “inner border sign” and “ridge sign.” The following definitions have been added: congenital transformation zone, polyp (ectocervical or endocervical), stenosis, congenital anomaly, and posttreatment consequence. In addition, the terminology includes standardization of cervical excision treatment types and cervical excision specimen dimensions. The International Federation of Cervical Pathology and Colposcopy recommends that the 2011 terminology replace all others and be implemented for diagnosis, treatment, and research.

The 2011 colposcopic terminology of the International Federation of Cervical Pathology and Colposcopy includes nomenclature of cervical and vaginal colposcopic findings, cervical excision treatment types, and specimen dimensions.

From the Nomenclature Committee of the International Federation for Cervical Pathology and Colposcopy, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Western Galilee Hospital, and the Bar-Ilan University Faculty of Medicine, Nahariya, Israel; the Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, Saint Stephen Hospital, Budapest, Hungary, L4000 Women's Hospital, the University of Michigan Hospitals, Ann Arbor, Michigan, the University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia, Institute of Clinical Sciences, Sahlgrenska Academy, Gothenburg University, Gothenburg, Sweden, and the Royal Free Hospital, London, United Kingdom; the Austrian Society of Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology, Vienna, Austria; the German Society of Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology, Reutlingen, Germany; the Gynecology Department, Lower Genital Tract Disease and Gynecologic Oncology Unit, Hospital Italiano de Buenos Aires, and the University of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina; the School of Medicine Hospital Italiano, Milano, Italy; the Beacon Hospital, Sandyford, Dublin, Ireland; Douglass Hanly Moir Pathology, Macquarie Park, New South Wales, Australia; the Preventive Gynecology Unit, Gynecology Division, European Institute of Oncology, Milan, Italy; and the Institut Clinic of Gynecology, Obstetrics and Neonatology, Hospital Clinic-Institut d'investigacions Biomediques August Pi I Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Faculty of Medicine-University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.

See related editorial on page 9.

The authors thank Drs. Alfonso Alba, Montserrrat Cararach, Hanoch Levavi, Claudia Ester Marchitelli, Rami Mushonov, Olaf Reich, Eduardo Schejter, Efraim Siegler, Albert Singer, and Jeffrey Tan for providing useful comments during the discussions of the nomenclature committee.

Corresponding author: Jacob Bornstein, MD, MPA, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Western Galilee Hospital, PO Box 21, Nahariya, 22100, Israel; e-mail:

Financial Disclosure The authors did not report any potential conflicts of interest.

© 2012 by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.