Evaluation of an Abnormal Pap Smear with Colposcopy

What is a Colposcopy?

Colposcopy is a procedure used in conjunction with the Pap test (cancer detection) to diagnose abnormalities of the female reproductive organs, primarily the cervix and the vagina. It is used most frequently if the Pap smear results suggest that further evaluation is indicated.

How is it done?

Colposcopy is conducted with an instrument called a colposcope. This is a low powered microscope that does NOT touch or enter the body. This is a "looking" procedure that allows the doctor to see the cervix and walls of the vagina in much greater detail than would be possible with the naked eye. There is no pain A speculum (the shoehorn type instrument used for most pelvic examinations) is inserted into the vagina. A pap smear may be taken and the cervix is cleansed with a vinegar solution. The colposcope is then used to visualize the cervix and/or the walls of the vaginal. If abnormal areas are seen, biopsies (sample of tissues) are taken for laboratory study. The use of the colposcope in no way affects a women or her childbearing capabilities. It takes approximately ten minutes to complete the examination.

After the examination, the doctor will discuss his findings with you. Laboratory results will be available in about 7 days. You will be contacted by phone for a follow-up office visit to discuss those findings or for corrective treatment.

Reasons for Colposcopy

DYSPLASIA: A reversible precancerous condition involving the presence of abnormal cells on the uterine cervix. Over a period of time (months-years) dysplasia can stay the same, disappear on its own or progress to cancer. Since we can not predict its trend, we feel obligated to evaluate and treat all cervical dysplasias.

DES EXPOSURE: Between 1940 and 1971 DES (diethylstilbestrol) and other synthetic estrogen's were given to pregnant women who had problems such as frequent miscarriages, diabetes and other complications of pregnancy. In 1971, studies showed an association, although very small, between intrauterine exposure to DES and the development of vaginal and cervical cancer. However, noncancerous changes appear in the vagina and on the cervix of the majority of those exposed.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the office.
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