Tanner stages

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The Tanner stages (also known as the Tanner classification , English Tanner stages ) are used to classify the physical development of people ( children , adolescents and adults ) during puberty into different stages. These stages were developed by James M. Tanner in 1969 and define different stages of development as measured by external primary and secondary gender characteristics . These are in particular the female breast , the sexual organs and the development of pubic hair growth .

The Tanner stages are passed through at different speeds during puberty , depending on individual predisposition and external influences .

Definition of the individual stages

Tanner stages - girls

The names of the stages vary depending on the source. For example, the stages for the breast are often referred to as B1 – B5, and in French-speaking countries also S1 – S5 (for le to be  = the breast). Also, P1-P5 or PP5-PP1 (for pubic hair engl. Pubic hair or French. Poil pubien ) encountered.

Since the stages were developed on the basis of English studies on white adolescents , deviations for other ethnic groups may exist.

Female breast

Development of the breasts
  • Tanner I - prepubescent - no noticeable mammary gland, the areola follows the skin contours of the surrounding breast.
  • Tanner II - the breast bud develops, mammary gland tissue begins to be palpable; the areola is slightly enlarged.
  • Tanner III - the chest begins to bulge, the glandular tissue is larger than the boundaries of the areola. This continues to enlarge, but remains level with the surrounding tissue.
  • Tanner IV - Breast size and elevation increase, the nipple and areola stand out against the breast contour.
  • Tanner V - The breast reaches its final size, the areola again forms a level with the breast contour, from which only the nipple protrudes.

Male genitals

Tanner stages - boys
  • Tanner I - prepubertal - the testicular volume is less than 1.5 ml; the penis is small.
  • Tanner II - the testicular volume grows to 1.6 to 6 ml; the skin of the scrotum thins, becomes reddish and dilates; unchanged penis length.
  • Tanner III - further enlargement of the testicle (6–12 ml); the scrotum continues to enlarge; the penis length increases.
  • Tanner IV - testicular volume between 12 and 20 ml; the scrotum becomes larger and darker; penis size increases in girth and length.
  • Tanner V - adult - testicular volume is greater than 20 ml; Fully grown scrotum and penis.

Pubic hair

  • Tanner I - prepubescent - no real hair in the pubic area, just fine downy hair.
  • Tanner II - a few long, downy hairs with little pigmentation at the base of the penis and scrotum (male) or on the outer labia (female). The hair cannot be seen in a full body photo and can be straight or slightly curled.
  • Tanner III - hair becomes stronger, frizzled, and darker; it continues to spread.
  • Tanner IV - hair quality as in adults, spread over the pubic mound , but not yet over the thighs.
  • Tanner V / VI - adult - the hair spreads over the thighs and up to the linea alba , sometimes a distinction is made between P5 and P6.


  • WA Marshall, JM Tanner: Variations in pattern of pubertal changes in girls . In: Archives of Disease in Childhood . (Arch Dis Child) 1969, Vol. 44, No. 235, pp. 291-303, PMID 5785179 .
  • WA Marshall, JM Tanner: Variations in the pattern of pubertal changes in boys . In: Archives of Disease in Childhood. 1970, Vol. 45, No. 239, pp. 13-23, PMID 5440182 .
  • Stanley J. Ulijaszek, Francis E. Johnston, MA Preece (Eds.): The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Human Growth and Development. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge UK / New York NY 1998, ISBN 978-0-521-56046-7 .

Individual evidence

  1. adapted from Lawrence Neinstein, MD and entry on Tanner stages in Flexikon , a wiki from DocCheck , accessed on November 26, 2015.