Colposcopy is an examination of the cervix usinga special microscope called a colposcope. The microscope allows the doctor to see the cervix andother areas in detail. The doctor can find abnormalareas and take samples if needed. A gynecologist specially trained in colposcopy will do the test.
It is very similar to the Pap test you had in yourdoctor’s office. The doctor inserts a speculum into the vagina to view the cervix. A Pap testmay be taken.
What is colposcopy? Colposcopy is an examination of the cervix usinga special microscope called a colposcope. The microscope allows the doctor to see the cervix andother areas in detail. The doctor can find abnormalareas and take samples if needed. A gynecologist specially trained in colposcopy will do the test. How is a colposcopy done? It is very similar to the Pap test you had in yourdoctor’s office. The doctor inserts a speculum into the vagina to view the cervix. A Pap testmay be taken. A vinegar solution is then applied to the cervix, vagina and sometimes the vulva. Youmay feel a tingling sensation. The vinegar turns anyabnormal areas white. The doctor then looks at thecervix through the colposcope. The colposcopedoes not enter your body. This portion of thevisit usually takes 10 minutes.
Tip: Empty your bladder just before the test – you’ll feel less pressure.
If any white or abnormal areas are seen, a biopsy or small tissue sample will be taken. You may feela pinch when the biopsy is taken or you may notfeel any discomfort. A small amount of yellow orgrey-brown paste is applied to the biopsy site tohelp stop any bleeding. Another type of biopsy isan ECC or endocervical curettage.
The doctor may discuss the colposcopy findingswith you immediately after the test. In other casesa follow-up visit may be arranged to discuss yourtest results and possible treatment. A follow-upappointment may or may not be needed. Ifrecommended, it is important to keep all follow-up visits.The gynecologist will send a letter to your family doctor about your findings and follow-upcare. If you have any questions or concerns, pleasecall the clinic or gynecologist’s office for moreinformation.
If you are pregnant, keep your appointment.Observation may be all that is needed. If thedoctor feels a biopsy is needed, this will bediscussed with you.
Some colposcopes are equipped with a videocamera and TV monitor. You can see on the monitor what the doctor is seeing through thecolposcope. This may give you a better understanding of what is happening. You maychoose not to watch the monitor.
There may be a nurse in the room to assist you andthe doctor. A student may also be in the clinic. Youhave the right not to have a student present but wehope that you will help us as we train them.
If your doctor has told you that you need to have a LEEP procedure, it's because your annual Pap smear indicated the presence of abnormal cervical cells, or cervical dysplasia. While the loop electrosurgical excision procedure, or LEEP procedure, may make you wonder if your doctor wants you to jump. The LEEP procedure has nothing to do with jumping. The LEEP procedure is one of several procedures your doctor has available to help diagnose and treat abnormal cervical cells. Other procedures your doctor may want you to have either before or during the LEEP procedure include,a colposcopy and / or a cone biopsy. LEEP uses a thin wire loop electrode which is attached to an electrosurgical generator. The generator transmits a painless electrical current that quickly cuts away the affected cervical tissue in the immediate area of the loop wire. This causes the abnormal cells to rapidly heat and burst, and separates the tissue as the loop wire moves through the cervix. This technique allows your physician to send the excised tissue to the lab for further evaluation which insures that the lesion was completely removed, as well as allowing for a more accurate assessment of the abnormal area. You may want to ask your doctor if it's OK to take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen before your procedure to help minimize any pain. Never take any drug before any medical procedure without explicitly asking your doctor about it. Always follow your doctors instructions for preparation for the LEEP.
The LEEP procedure takes about 20-30 minutes and is usually performed in your physician's office. In some ways it may seem much like a normal pelvic exam because you will lie on the exam table with your feet in the stirrups. A colposcope will be used to guide your doctor to the abnormal area. Unlike a normal colposcopy, a tube will be attached to the speculum to remove the small amount of smoke caused by the procedure. An electrosurgical dispersive pad will be placed on your thigh. The pad is a gel-covered adhesive electrode which provides a safe return path for the electrosurgical current. A single-use, disposable loop electrode will be attached to the generator hand piece by your physician. Your cervix will be prepared with acetic acid and iodine solutions that enable your physician to more easily see the extent of the abnormal area. Next a local anesthetic will be injected into the cervix; the electroloop will be generated and the wire loop will pass through the surface of your cervix. After the lesion is removed your physician will use a ball electrode to stop any bleeding that occurs; he may also use a topical solution to prevent further bleeding. You can leave your physician's office soon after the procedure.
Complications are usually mild but can include: