Colposcopy and treatment of abnormal
Colposcopy is carried out if the smear test shows up abnormalities
in the cervical cells. A colposcope is a microscope that magnifies the
Colposcopy is a painless, out-patient procedure. You will be
asked to lie on your back with your legs in supports.
A plastic or metal instrument called a speculum is inserted into
the vagina to hold the walls of the vagina apart. The speculum is similar
to that used for a smear.
Dilute acetic acid, and possibly iodine, will be painted onto
your cervix to show up any abnormalities. Small samples of tissue, called
biopsies, may be taken from the cervix and sent to the laboratory for
analysis. These procedures do not hurt but may be a bit uncomfortable.
During colposcopy, abnormal cervical cells can be removed or
destroyed in a number of ways. The most common is called loop biopsy
or LLETZ. A local anaesthetic is injected to numb your cervix. This
is not painful but may be uncomfortable. A small piece of tissue containing
the abnormal cells is then removed using an electrical current; the
sample removed is about the size of a marble. Other methods involve
heating or freezing the area with the abnormal cells, or removing or
destroying it using a laser.
You are likely to have discharge and abnormal bleeding for a
few weeks after treatment. If the bleeding is heavy or if the discharge
becomes offensive, consult your doctor.