Recommended standardized terminology of the anterior female pelvis based on a structured medical literature review

Society of Gynecologic Surgeons Pelvic Anatomy Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background: The use of imprecise and inaccurate terms leads to confusion amongst anatomists and medical professionals. Objective: We sought to create recommended standardized terminology to describe anatomic structures of the anterior female pelvis based on a structured review of published literature and selected text books. Study Design: We searched MEDLINE from its inception until May 2, 2016, using 11 medical subject heading terms to identify studies reporting on anterior female pelvic anatomy; any study type published in English was accepted. Nine textbooks were also included. We screened 12,264 abstracts, identifying 200 eligible studies along with 13 textbook chapters from which we extracted all pertinent anatomic terms. Results: In all, 67 unique structures in the anterior female pelvis were identified. A total of 59 of these have been previously recognized with accepted terms in Terminologia Anatomica, the international standard on anatomical terminology. We also identified and propose the adoption of 4 anatomic regional terms (lateral vaginal wall, pelvic sidewall, pelvic bones, and anterior compartment), and 2 structural terms not included in Terminologia Anatomica (vaginal sulcus and levator hiatus). In addition, we identified 2 controversial terms (pubourethral ligament and Grafenberg spot) that require additional research and consensus from the greater medical and scientific community prior to adoption or rejection of these terms. Conclusion: We propose standardized terminology that should be used when discussing anatomic structures in the anterior female pelvis to help improve communication among researchers, clinicians, and surgeons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-39
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2018


  • pelvic anatomy
  • pelvic surgery
  • terminology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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