Colposcopy is a test to find abnormal cells on the cervix. It is used to determine if further tests or treatment is necessary. At times a cervical biopsy is performed.
If it is thought that there are abnormal cells on the cervix, the physician may suggest further testing to take place. One option is to have a Colposcopy performed. A colposcope is used which looks like binoculars with a bright light mounted on the stand which allows a close up view of the cervix looking for abnormal cells on or in the area near the cervix.
They are done when there is an abnormal Pap Smear or HPV test or the cervix appears abnormal during a Gyn exam. There may be unexplained vaginal bleeding occurring. If a part of the cervix looks abnormal, a tiny piece of the cervix may be removed and sent to the lab. This tiny sampling is called a biopsy.
A Colposcopy does not require an anesthetic. The patient lies in position as if having a Pap Smear and a speculum is placed inside her vagina to separate its walls. A vinegar solution is swabbed on the walls of the vagina and cervix and turns the abnormal cells an acetowhite color. These are the areas that the physician may want to biopsy as these are generally the abnormal cervical cells.
The Colposcopy is performed in the middle of your cycle when you will not be having your period. No douching, use of tampons, or placing medications in your vagina should be done for at least 24 hours before the procedure is performed.
You may experience some mild cramping and discomfort after the procedure is performed. There may be some bright or dark colored blood.
If the biopsy comes back abnormal, your provider may decide to monitor you by frequent
Pap Smears, Cryotherapy (abnormal tissue is frozen off), or LEEP (abnormal tissue is removed using a thin wire loop that has electrical current, Laser (abnormal tissue destroyed using a laser beam) or Cone biopsy where a cone-shaped wedge is cut out of the cervix.
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