Colposcopy is an office procedure that involves looking at the cervix (mouth of the womb) or vulva or vagina with a special microscope. Because of an abnormal PAP smear, you may have been scheduled for a colposcopy. Since the Pap smear is a screening device, it is necessary in some cases to obtain a tissue biopsy in order to get a definite diagnosis.
With the aid of the microscope designed especially to examine the cervix (as seen above), vagina, and vulva, we are able to actually see the small areas of abnormal tissue which are not visible to the naked eye. Frequently, vinegar or special dyes are applied to your cervix to make areas of interest more obvious. Your physician looks for areas of tissue that appear white instead of the normal pink color. Also, the appearance of small blood vessels may give a clue to abnormal tissue. Tissue biopsies are taken from the abnormal area, a so-called “directed biopsy.” The amount of discomfort experienced by most patients is minimal, although we realize each patient is an individual and may experience different levels of discomfort.
After the biopsy is completed, a small amount of bleeding is expected and is easily controlled by applying a chemical directly to the biopsy site. You may experience a slight burning sensation when the chemical is applied. When you return home, you can have mild menstrual-like cramping and may have a small amount of dark or bloody discharge for 7-10 days. If the bleeding is excessive, you should contact your gynecologist immediately. In order to minimize the likelihood of excessive bleeding, you should refrain from intercourse for 14 days. There is no need otherwise to restrict your activity.
The biopsy report will be returned usually within two weeks. The results of the biopsy and options for treatment will be discussed at a follow-up appointment with your physician.
The information provided by Advanced Healthcare for Women and E. Daniel Biggerstaff, III, M.D. is for informational purposes only. As each woman is unique, do not rely on this information for diagnosis and treatment. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the content and advise that you see a qualified Health Care Professional for individual needs and care.