Objectives. A panel of 14 physicians practicing medicine in the United States with expertise in radiology, obstetrics and gynecology, gynecologic oncology, hysteroscopy, epidemiology, and pathology was convened by the Society of Radiologists in Ultrasound to discuss the role of sonography in women with postmenopausal bleeding. Broad objectives of this conference were (1) to advance understanding of the utility of different diagnostic techniques for evaluating the endometrium in women with postmenopausal bleeding; (2) to formulate useful and practical guidelines for evaluation of women with postmenopausal bleeding, specifically as it relates to the use of sonography; and (3) to offer suggestions for future research projects. Setting. October 24 and 25, 2000, Washington, DC, preceding the annual Society of Radiologists in Ultrasound Advances in Sonography conference. Procedure. Specific questions to the panel included the following: (1) What are the relative effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of using transvaginal sonography versus office (nondirected) endometrial biopsy as the initial examination for a woman with postmenopausal bleeding? (2) What are the sonographic standards for evaluating a woman with postmenopausal bleeding? (3) What are the abnormal sonographic findings in a woman with postmenopausal bleeding? (4) When should saline infusion sonohysterography or hysteroscopy be used in the evaluation of postmenopausal bleeding? (5) Should the diagnostic approach be modified for patients taking hormone replacement medications, tamoxifen, or other selective estrogen receptor modulators? Conclusions. Consensus recommendations were used to create an algorithm for evaluating women with postmenopausal bleeding. All panelists agreed that because postmenopausal bleeding is the most common presenting symptom of endometrial cancer, when postmenopausal bleeding occurs, clinical evaluation is indicated. The panelists also agreed that either transvaginal sonography or endometrial biopsy could be used safely and effectively as the first diagnostic step. Whether sonography or endometrial biopsy is used initially depends on the physician's assessment of patient risk, the nature of the physician's practice, the availability of high-quality sonography, and patient preference. Similar sensitivities for detecting endometrial carcinoma are reported for transvaginal sonography when an endometrial thickness of greater than 5 mm is considered abnormal and for endometrial biopsy when "sufficient" tissue is obtained. Currently, with respect to mortality, morbidity, and quality-of-life end points, there are insufficient data to comment as to which approach is more effective. The conference concluded by identifying several important unanswered questions and suggestions that could be addressed by future research projects.
- Endometrial cancer
- Post-menopausal bleeding
- Transvaginal sonography
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging