The history of female genital tract malformation classifications and proposal of an updated system
AbstractAbstract BACKGROUND A correct classification of malformations of the female genital tract is essential to prevent unnecessary and inadequate surgical operations and to compare reproductive results. An ideal classification system should be based on aetiopathogenesis and should suggest the appropriate therapeutic strategy. METHODS We conducted a systematic review of relevant articles found in PubMed, Scopus, Scirus and ISI webknowledge, and analysis of historical collections of ‘female genital malformations’ and ‘classifications’. Of 124 full-text articles assessed for eligibility, 64 were included because they contained original general, partial or modified classifications. RESULTS All the existing classifications were analysed and grouped. The unification of terms and concepts was also analysed. Traditionally, malformations of the female genital tract have been catalogued and classified as Müllerian malformations due to agenesis, lack of fusion, the absence of resorption and lack of posterior development of the Müllerian ducts. The American Fertility Society classification of the late 1980s included seven basic groups of malformations also considering the Müllerian development and the relationship of the malformations to fertility. Other classifications are based on different aspects: functional, defects in vertical fusion, embryological or anatomical (Vagina, Cervix, Uterus, Adnex and Associated Malformation: VCUAM classification). However, an embryological-clinical classification system seems to be the most appropriate. CONCLUSIONS Accepting the need for a new classification system of genitourinary malformations that considers the experience gained from the application of the current classification systems, the aetiopathogenesis and that also suggests the appropriate treatment, we proposed an update of our embryological–clinical classification as a new system with six groups of female genitourinary anomalies.