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South Med J. 2006 Mar;99(3):212-5.

The rectovaginal examination: physician attitudes and practice patterns.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26506, USA.



The value of screening with the rectovaginal examination (RVE) has not been validated. This study describes physician attitudes and practice patterns regarding the RVE.


Cross-sectional survey of residents and faculty in general internal medicine and obstetrics/gynecology (OB/GYN) at a university hospital.


Thirty-four percent of physicians surveyed reported routinely performing the RVE. More OB/GYN than internal medicine physicians reported doing the RVE routinely (60% versus 27%, P = 0.02), and felt it provided additional information (80% versus 44%, P = 0.01). More respondents believed that it provides additional information to the routine pelvic examination (53%) than agreed with its routine inclusion (42%) or that reported routinely performing it (34%). (P = 0.0001)


More OB/GYN than internal medicine physicians routinely perform the RVE and believe it adds additional information to the routine pelvic examination. Additional research is indicated to determine if frequent omission of the RVE impacts women's health.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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