Cone biopsy and cryocautery of the cervix

• Cone biopsy and cryocautery of the cervix are two methods   used to remove abnormal cervical cells.

• Cone biopsy may be performed in out-patients under local   anaesthetic or as a day-case operation in theatre under   general anaesthetic. Cryocautery is a painless procedure   carried out in out-patients.

• In both procedures, an instrument called a speculum is   inserted to hold the walls of the vagina apart and the cervix
  is then examined with the colposcope. The colposcope is
  a microscope that magnifies the cervix and enables it to be   seen more clearly.

For a cone biopsy, the area to be removed is highlighted   using iodine solution. A 'cone' of tissue, containing the   abnormal area, is then removed using either a hot, wire
  loop or a laser. If performed in theatre, the tissue may be   removed surgically and sent to the laboratory for
  examination.

• For cryocautery, the abnormal cells are destroyed by
  placing a freezing probe on the cervix for a few minutes.

• There may be some slight bleeding following these   procedures. A vaginal discharge, which is dark brown
  or black in colour after cone biopsy, and light and clear
  after cryocautery, may also occur for up to 6 weeks. Any
  other discharge, particularly if offensive in smell, should
  be reported.

• Sexual intercourse should be avoided until after the next   menstrual period to ensure that the cervix heals properly.

• Normal activities can he resumed the following day.