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We evaluated the diagnostic utility of the histological characteristics ascribed in the literature to serrated adenomas and developed a practical working model to allow their reliable identification. We also documented the frequency and location of serrated adenomas identified in an unselected series of individuals undergoing colonoscopic evaluation, as well as the clinical characteristics of those individuals. One hundred forty consecutive individuals (prospective polyp data set; 97 male, 43 female; age mean: 63.3 y; age range: 29–98 y) with 255 polyps were identified from 919 individuals undergoing colonoscopy. Further polyps previously removed from these individuals were added for the purpose of histological assessment (extended polyp data set, n = 380). All polyps were assessed by two independent examiners for eight selected architectural and cytological features of serrated adenomas. In the prospective polyp data set, 56 patients had 72 hyperplastic polyps, 7 had 9 serrated adenomas, 3 had 4 admixed polyps, and 98 had 170 conventional adenomas. There was no difference in the age, sex, or cancer association of the seven patients with serrated adenomas when compared with the case of other individuals with polyps. The prevalence of serrated adenomas was 9/919 (1%) in our population, with an average size of 5.8 mm. When assessing serrated adenomas histologically, the combination of nuclear dysplasia and serration of 20% of crypts provided the most accurate model for detection of these lesions (sensitivity 100%, specificity 97%). Other criteria provided supportive evidence but did not increase the diagnostic yield. The optimum model for the histological identification of the serrated adenoma includes the presence of a serrated architecture in 20% of crypts in association with surface epithelial dysplasia.