Colposcopy and Cervical Biopsy
A colposcopy and cervical biopsy are diagnostic procedures that your doctor may conduct after a Pap smear comes back with abnormal results. These diagnostic tests allow a physician to closely examine the cervix and vulva to look for irregularities and collect tissue samples for analysis in a lab.
A colposcopy and cervical biopsy can be essential to accurately diagnose the following conditions, among others:
- Cervical cancer and cancers of the vagina or vulva
- Genital warts
- Inflammation of the cervix
- Precancerous changes to the cervix, vagina or vulva
During a colposcopy our physician will use a lighted, magnifying instrument to examine the vaginal area. The colposcope itself is a non-invasive diagnostic tool, but it does require the walls of the vagina to be held open with a speculum for visualization. Additionally the area being examined may be swabbed or rinsed to best see the area in question. A vinegar solution can simultaneously clean the cervix and turn abnormal tissue white so it is more easily detected. If suspicious cells are present, our physician may collect a sample of cells, known as a cervical biopsy.
This procedure is completed in our office and takes about 10 to 20 minutes. A colposcopy is not always used to diagnose cancers and often this comprehensive exam can help to eliminate more serious diagnoses, as abnormal Pap test results may simply be caused by a viral infection or natural cervical changes in pre-menopausal women. Depending on the results of a colposcopy and cervical biopsy, additional testing or treatment may be required. In cases where cancerous or precancerous cells are present, it is important to know that early detection and treatment can yield the most positive outcomes.
If you have received abnormal Pap smear results, the medical team at North Pinellas Women’s Care understands the concerns that this initial diagnosis can carry. Our physicians are expert diagnosticians and can help you to understand what to expect during and after the colposcopy and cervical biopsy procedure. To setup a consultation, please call our office at 727.935.6477 (Palm Harbor) or 727.789.9006 (Trinity), or request an appointment using our convenient, online form.