Cervical cytology specimen adequacy: Patient management guidelines and optimizing specimen collection

Diane Davis Davey, J. Thomas Cox, R. Marshall Austin, George Birdsong, Terence J. Colgan, Lydia P Howell, Mujtaba Husain, Teresa M. Darragh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE. To provide updated management guidelines according to cervical cytology specimen adequacy and techniques to optimize adequacy based on literature review and expert opinion. MATERIALS AND METHODS. Selected members of the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology committee and invited experts conducted a literature review and discussed appropriate management and areas for future research emphasis. RESULTS. The guidelines recommend a repeat Pap test in a short interval of 2 to 4 months for most women when the cytology result is unsatisfactory. The preferred follow-up for women with a negative cytology result lacking an endocervical/transformation zone component or showing other quality indicators is a repeat Pap test in 12 months. Indications for an early repeat Pap test in 6 months are provided, and the influence of human papillomavirus testing results on management is discussed. Techniques for optimizing specimen adequacy are provided in detail. CONCLUSION. The specimen adequacy management guidelines will help promote uniform and optimal follow-up of patients receiving cervical cytology screening. The topics for future research emphasis will be helpful in promoting studies in needed areas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-81
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Lower Genital Tract Disease
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2008


  • Bethesda terminology
  • Cervical cytology screening
  • Guidelines
  • Management
  • Pap test
  • Specimen adequacy
  • Unsatisfactory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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