After the introduction of the colposcope for the examination of children suspected of being sexually abused in Leeds, a study was undertaken to describe the findings in detail. A total of 109 consecutive prepubertal girls, mean age 70.4 months were assessed including colposcopic genital and anal examination, and peer group review of reports and photographs. Fifty nine children had signs consistent with blunt force penetrating trauma (hymenal transection/major notch, scar, or hymenal attenuation). Transections were encountered most commonly at 6 o'clock (directly posterior). In 46 the hymenal orifice was gaping with thigh abduction only and in 47 the hymenal orifice transverse diameter was greater than 4 mm on labial separation. Overall, physical findings were commonly present and in only two cases were no signs recorded. Non-specific and frequent findings included patterns of labial and introital reddening. Supportive hymenal signs including swelling, rounding of edge, thickening, distortion, and loss of symmetry were common. Labial fusion was present in 20. Urethral dilatation with labial separation was noted in 14. Physical findings including normality are consistent with abuse and even minor anogenital signs as well as negative findings should be documented. Colposcopy and photography are valuable tools in peer review, teaching, and case management.
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