alexa History of colposcopy: a brief biography of Hinselmann


Journal of HPV and Cervical Cancer

Author(s): Eugenio Fusco, Francesco Padula, Emanuela Mancini, Goran Grubisic

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Objectives: To consider all the historical reasons for the slow growth of colposcopy through a brief biography of Hinselmann. The history of colposcopy is beginning in March 1924. In the first experiments, colposcopic examination was almost impossible to perform because of the distance from the focus, that was no more than 80 mm. Hinselmann tried to solve this problem by pulling out the uterine cervix. The examined part is anemised by this procedure, which can prejudice the final result and a small amount of blood might leak as well. Beside that, a patient can feel pain if the portio is held by a thin forceps. The colposcopy, established in Germany, had spread throughout slowly its motherland, probably thanks to the many mistakes caused by Hinselmann himself: a technique proposed and almost exclusively intended for early discovery of cervical carcinoma; very authoritative imposition of terms, especially histological, which caused resistance by hystopathologists possibly induced by the fear of loosing their prestige who considered them too complex; his stubbornness in considering leukoplakia as precancerous lesion imposed him a lot of opponents; until the 1950's there had not yet been any adequate didactic material at the disposal of numerous gynaecologists; Hinselmann’s temper, described by Wespi as a mixture of innocence and missionary eagerness, had not prepared him for dialogue and compromise. Conclusion: It might seem surprising that colposcopy, accurate in detecting all benign lesions and initial atypical transformations, and perfectly capable of pointing safe biopsy in cases of suspicious lesions, did not develop as it should have a method whose function is of great importance in the prevention and treatment of CIN. Despite the role and the importance of cytology in the realization of the population programme of cervical cancer detection, the colposcopy allows the precise diagnosis among women with abnormal pap smears.

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This article was published in J Prenat Med and referenced in Journal of HPV and Cervical Cancer

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