Enhancing colposcopy with polarized light

Daron Gale Ferris, Wenjing Li, Ulf Gustafsson, Richard W. Lieberman, Oscar Galdos, Carlos Santos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective.: To determine the potential utility of polarized light used during colposcopic examinations. Materials and Methods.: Matched, polarized, and unpolarized colposcopic images and diagnostic annotations from 31 subjects receiving excisional treatment of cervical neoplasia were compared. Sensitivity, specificity, and mean Euclidean distances between the centroids of the gaussian ellipsoids for the different epithelial types were calculated for unpolarized and polarized images. Results.: The sensitivities of polarized colposcopic annotations for discriminating cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) 2 or higher were greater for all 3 acetowhite categories when compared with unpolarized annotations (58% [44/76] vs 45% [34/76], 68% [50/74] vs 59% [45/76], and 68% [49/72] vs 66% [50/76], respectively). The average percent differences in Euclidean distances between the epithelial types for unpolarized and polarized cervical images were as follows: CIN 2/3 versus CIN 1 = 33% (10/30, p =.03), CIN 2/3 versus columnar epithelium = 22% (p =.004), CIN 2/3 versus immature metaplasia = 29% (14/47, p =.11), and CIN 1 versus immature metaplasia = 27% (4.4/16, p =.16). Conclusions.: Because of its ability to interrogate at a deeper plane and eliminate obscuring glare, polarized light colposcopy may enhance the evaluation and detection of cervical neoplasias.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-154
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Lower Genital Tract Disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010


  • cervical neoplasia
  • colposcopy
  • cross-polarization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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