Diagnostic Value of Visual Examination of Cervical Polypoid Lesions and Predictors of Misdiagnosis

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Abstract

Objectives

This study reviews occasions when cervical polyps removed in an outpatient setting proved not to be cervical polyps histologically. We aimed to identify any anatomical and/or clinical characteristics that predict "incorrect diagnosis” in general practice.

Methods

A retrospective study of consecutive 345 patients who were initially diagnosed with cervical polyps based on a routine gynecological examination in an outpatient setting was included. After histopathological examination, the patients were divided into 2 groups: those with cervical (correct diagnosis, n = 307) and falsely diagnosed with cervical polyps (FDP, n = 38). These 2 groups were compared in terms of age, signs and symptoms, and size of the polypoid lesions.

Results

The initial clinical diagnosis was correct in 307, giving a positive predictive value of 89%. There were no significant difference between the groups with respect to age of patients (p = 0.59) and the size of the lesions (p = 0.42). According to our study, among misdiagnosed patients, nabothian cysts and cervicitis were the most common histological findings; FDPs were more often symptomatic (p < 0.001) and coexisted more frequently with inflammation or ulceration (p < 0.001). All FDPs were developing within the endocervical canal. There were no instances of FDPs that arise from ectocervix. Symptomatic polypoids have a higher risk of preliminary misdiagnosis (OR = 13.0; 95% confidence interval, 3.0–55.1).

Conclusions

All cervical polypoid lesions must be sent to pathology because visual diagnosis is not sufficiently accurate to direct patient care.

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