So You Need A Cervical Biopsy Here's What That Actually Means
Glittering India|February 2018

What to expect during this common and painless gynecological procedure.

Vibha Singh

Colposcopy is a way to get a close-up look at your cervix. It’s a quick and easy way to find cell changes in your cervix that may turn into cancer. It is a type of cervical cancer test. It lets your doctor or nurse get a close-up look at your cervix — the opening to your uterus. It’s used to find abnormal cells in your cervix.

The doctor uses colposcopy to view the opening to the uterus, called the cervix, and the vagina. It uses an instrument with a magnifying lens and a light, called a colposcope. It magnifies the image many times. The healthcare provider sees the tissues on the cervix and vaginal walls more clearly. In some cases, your provider will take a small sample of tissue for exam in the lab.

This is called a cervical biopsy.

Cervix. The lower, narrow part of the uterus located between the bladder and the rectum, forming a canal that opens into the vagina, which leads to the outside of the body.

Vagina. This is the passageway through which fluid passes out of the body during menstrual periods. The vagina connects the cervix and the vulva (the outer genitalia).

Why might I need a colposcopy? Need a colposcopy?

Colposcopy is a procedure that allows a physician to take a closer look at a woman’s cervix and vagina using a special instrument called a colposcope. It is used to check for precancerous or abnormal areas. The colposcope can magnify the area between 10 and 40 times; some devices also can take photographs.

Purpose

The colposcope helps to identify abnormal areas of the cervix or vagina so that small pieces of tissue (biopsies) can be taken for further analysis.

Colposcopy is used to identify or rule out the existence of any precancerous conditions in the cervical tissue. If a Pap test shows abnormal cell growth, further testing, such as colposcopy, often is required. A Pap test is a screening test that involves scraping cells from the outside of the cervix. If abnormal cells are found, the physician will attempt to find the area that produced the abnormal cells and remove it for further study (biopsy). Only then can a diagnosis be made.

Colposcopy may also be performed if the cervix looks abnormal during a routine examination. It may also be suggested for women with genital warts and for diethylstilbestrol (DES) daughters (women whose mothers took DES when pregnant with them).

If your provider sees abnormal tissue during a colposcopy, he or she may take a small sample of tissue for further study. The healthcare provider may also take tissue samples from inside the cervix.

Bleeding

Polyps (noncancerous growths)

Genital warts, which may suggest infection with human papilloma virus (HPV), a risk factor for developing cervical cancer

Diethylstilbestrol (DES) exposure in women whose mothers took DES during pregnancy, as DES exposure raises the risk for cancer of the reproductive system

What happens during a colposcopy?

You may have a colposcopy in your healthcare provider’s office or during a hospital stay. Procedures may vary based on your condition and your healthcare provider’s practices.

Generally, a colposcopy follows this process:

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