Human surface anatomy terminology for dermatology: a Delphi consensus from the International Skin Imaging Collaboration

J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2020 Nov;34(11):2659-2663. doi: 10.1111/jdv.16855. Epub 2020 Sep 2.


Background: There is no internationally vetted set of anatomic terms to describe human surface anatomy.

Objective: To establish expert consensus on a standardized set of terms that describe clinically relevant human surface anatomy.

Methods: We conducted a Delphi consensus on surface anatomy terminology between July 2017 and July 2019. The initial survey included 385 anatomic terms, organized in seven levels of hierarchy. If agreement exceeded the 75% established threshold, the term was considered 'accepted' and included in the final list. Terms added by the participants were passed on to the next round of consensus. Terms with <75% agreement were included in subsequent surveys along with alternative terms proposed by participants until agreement was reached on all terms.

Results: The Delphi included 21 participants. We found consensus (≥75% agreement) on 361/385 (93.8%) terms and eliminated one term in the first round. Of 49 new terms suggested by participants, 45 were added via consensus. To adjust for a recently published International Classification of Diseases-Surface Topography list of terms, a third survey including 111 discrepant terms was sent to participants. Finally, a total of 513 terms reached agreement via the Delphi method.

Conclusions: We have established a set of 513 clinically relevant terms for denoting human surface anatomy, towards the use of standardized terminology in dermatologic documentation.

MeSH terms

  • Consensus
  • Delphi Technique
  • Dermatology*
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Humans
  • Surveys and Questionnaires