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Colposcopy

A colposcopy-directed biopsy uses a colposcope to aid in the viewing of the surface of the cervix. It helps identify areas on the surface that show tissue abnormalities. A colposcope is a low-power microscope that magnifies the surface of the cervix 10 to 40 times its normal size.

How the Test is Performed

 

You will lie on a table and place your feet in stirrups to position your pelvis for examination. A speculum (an instrument used to hold open the birth canal in order to view and examine the cervix) will be inserted into your vagina and opened slightly.

The cervix is then swabbed with a chemical solution (acetic acid) to remove the mucus that covers the surface, and to highlight abnormal areas. The colposcope is then positioned at the opening of the vagina, and the area is thoroughly examined.

If any areas look abnormal, a small sample of the tissue will be removed (biopsy) using small biopsy forceps. Many samples may be taken, depending on the size of the area.If any areas look abnormal, a small sample of the tissue will be removed (biopsy) using small biopsy forceps. Many samples may be taken, depending on the size of the area.

How to Prepare for the Test

A colposcopy is painless. Some women feel a slight stinging sensation caused by the vinegar solution. The biopsy may feel like a pinch each time a tissue sample is taken, which may cause some cramping.

Any pain or cramping you feel during the biopsy may be eased by relaxing and taking a few slow deep breaths. Some cramping may occur after the biopsy. It is typical for a woman to hold her breath during pelvic procedures in anticipation of pain. Making an effort to concentrate on slow, regular breathing will help you relax and reduce or eliminate some pain.

How the Test WIll Feel

A colposcopy is painless. Some women feel a slight stinging sensation caused by the vinegar solution. The biopsy may feel like a pinch each time a tissue sample is taken, which may cause some cramping.

Any pain or cramping you feel during the biopsy may be eased by relaxing and taking a few slow deep breaths. Some cramping may occur after the biopsy. It is typical for a woman to hold her breath during pelvic procedures in anticipation of pain. Making an effort to concentrate on slow, regular breathing will help you relax and reduce or eliminate some pain.

Why the Test is Performed

This procedure is usually performed after a positive Pap Smear to identify the abnormality. Most often the test is done after the Pap Smear reveals Atypical Squamous Cells, Dysplasia or Cancer.

Colposcopy