European Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 154, Issue 3, pp 182–186 | Cite as

Pelvic ultrasonography: Early differentiation between isolated premature thelarche and central precocious puberty

  • H. P. Haber
  • H. A. Wollmann
  • M. B. Ranke
Endocrinology Original Paper


We examined 55 girls with isolated premature thelarche between the ages of 0.3 and 7.3 years (group A), 20 children with central precocious puberty between 2.1 and 7.7 years of age and 101 age-matched controls. The children with precocious puberty were divided according to distribution of pubic hair into group B (Tanner stages PH1, B2–3;n=11), representing an early stage of the disorder, and group C (stages PH2–3, B3–4;n=9), representing an advanced stage. Uterine and ovarian volumes were measured sonographically, peak serum levels of luteinizing hormone and folliclestimulating hormone were determined after intravenous administration of luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone. The mean uterine and ovarian volumes were significantly greater in children with precocious puberty than in controls (group B: uterine volume: 3.8±2.0 ml vs 0.9±0.3 ml for controls,P<0.001; ovarian volume: 2.2±1.3 ml vs 0.6±0.2 ml for controls,P<0.01; group C: uterine volume: 8.0±4.4 ml vs 1.0±0.3 ml for controls,P<0.01; ovarian volume: 2.6±1.3 ml vs 0.4±0.1 ml,P<0.01). No significant differences were found between children with premature thelarche and the control group. As a diagnostic method for the early detection of central precocious puberty, ultrasound measurement of uterine volume had a sensitivity and specificity of 100% (cut-off value, 1.8 ml), while ultrasound determination of ovarian volume had a sensitivity of 82% and a specificity of 95% (cut-off value, 1.2 ml). In contrast, as a diagnostic criterion the ratio of levels of luteinizing hormone to follicle-stimulating hormone as determined following stimulation with luteinizing hormone releasing hormone had a sensitivity of 33% and a specificity of 100% (cut-off value, 1.0). Conclusion: ultrasonographic measurement of uterine and ovarian volume offers a reliable means of distinguishing between isolated premature thelarche and early stages of central precocious puberty.

Key words

Isolated premature thelarche Central precocious puberty Pelvic ultrasonography 



follicle stimulating hormone


luteinizing hormone


luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. P. Haber
    • 1
  • H. A. Wollmann
    • 1
  • M. B. Ranke
    • 1
  1. 1.Children's Hospital of the University of TübingenTübingenGermany

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