Background: National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) guidelines published in 2005 changed the management of cervical squamous intraepithelial lesions. Asymptomatic low‐grade abnormalities may be treated conservatively as many regress spontaneously. Cervical changes reflect infection with the human papilloma virus (HPV). Risk factors for acquiring HPV are the same as those for other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Aims: To perform a comparison of the Papanicolaou (PAP) smear, histology results of the cervical biopsy and large loop excision of transformation zone (LLETZ) to determine what proportion were over treated, and conversely what proportion would have been under treated in relation to the 2005 NHMRC guidelines. This group of patients was reviewed also for history of STI or concurrent infection.
Methods: Retrospective chart audit of LLETZ procedures and related histology in a population of women under 25 years between 1999 and 2003 presenting to a colposcopy clinic at a regional hospital.
Results: Two hundred and fifty‐one asymptomatic women underwent LLETZ procedures. Of them, 27.6% reported a history of STI and 9.2% had a positive test result or history of Chlamydia. Based on the 2005 NHMRC guidelines, which require high‐grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (HSIL) on PAP or biopsy, 34% of women had no indication for LLETZ. Of these, 65% were over treated having no HSIL on LLETZ histology and 35% would have been under treated.
Conclusions: The 2005 NHMRC guidelines should result in 33.9% fewer LLETZ procedures being performed in the younger age group. This has benefits for their future fertility needs. STI screening would be beneficial in this group when seen at colposcopy clinics, as they have significant rates of prior or current infection.