Bonney Test

Other Known Aliases none

Definition – bedside test with urinary incontinence to determine if it is due to anatomical or structural issues

Clinical Significance After a positive stress incontinence test, Bonney test is performed, where either a specialized instrument or examiner’s fingers are placed laterally to the urethral opening and pushed up to elevate the neck of the bladder. The patient then coughs to see if urine still escapes. If no urine leaks, then the incontinence is due the descent of the bladder neck into the vagina. If urine still escapes, it is due to weakness in the sphincter.

HistoryNamed after William Francis Victor Bonney (1872-1953), a British gynecologist who received his medical doctorate from Chelsea Hospital for Women in 1896. He would go on to achieve Master of Surgery distinction in 1899 and was accepted as a fellow in the Royal College of Surgeons and Physicians in 1900. He would spend his entire career developing, pioneering, and mastering operative techniques in gynecologic surgery towards more conservative approaches to reduce mortality, morbidity, and disability associated with the more conventional approaches of the time. This was largely due to his wife, Annie, receiving a total hysterectomy early in their marriage for anemia associated with her heavy cycles. He also developed his own antiseptic solution called “Bonney’s Blue” used during vaginal surgeries which profoundly reduced infectious mortality. He would author more than 200 manuscripts during his career culminating his Textbook of Gynaecologic Surgery that is still in print today. He is regarded as one of, if not the, major influencer in modern gynecologic surgery.


  1. Firkin BG and Whitwirth JA.  Dictionary of Medical Eponyms. 2nd ed.  New York, NY; Parthenon Publishing Group. 1996.
  2. Bartolucci S, Forbis P.  Stedman’s Medical Eponyms.  2nd ed.  Baltimore, MD; LWW.  2005.
  3. Yee AJ, Pfiffner P. (2012).  Medical Eponyms (Version 1.4.2) [Mobile Application Software].  Retrieved http://itunes.apple.com.
  4. Whonamedit – dictionary of medical eponyms. http://www.whonamedit.com
  5. Up To Date. www.uptodate.com
  6. Bonney, William Francis Victor (1872–1953). In: Baskett TF. Eponyms and Names in Obstetrics and Gynaecology . Cambridge University Press; 2019. [book]
  7. Powell, John L. MD, FACOG, FACS Powell’s Pearls, Obstetrical & Gynecological Survey: June 2005 – Volume 60 – Issue 6 – p 337-340 doi: 10.1097/01.ogx.0000162245.13467.5d

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s