Abnormal Pap Smears
What Is An Abnormal Pap Smear?
Did your Pap smear results come back abnormal? If so, then your gynecologist most likely recommended getting a further evaluation to find out what might be going on. Since abnormal results could mean that there are cancerous or precancerous cells present within the cervix, your OBGYN will want to perform a more in-depth examination to check the health of the cervix. This is known as a colposcopy.
Along with abnormal Pap results, your gynecologist may recommend getting a colposcopy if your doctor has detected some abnormality in the cervix during your routine pelvic exam, if you’ve tested positive for HPV or if you are dealing with unexplained bleeding. A colposcopy can also be used to diagnose genital warts, as well as cervical cancer and vaginal cancer.
What happens during a colposcopy?
You will lie down for this procedure, and a speculum will be used to keep the vaginal walls open. A colposcopy is similar to a Pap smear in that a special solution will be applied to the cervix and vagina, which will help our OBGYN see the cells to detect any changes or problems. Then a special instrument known as a colposcopy will be used to further examine the cervix and vulva.
Will I need to get a cervical biopsy?
A cervical biopsy is not a routine part of a colposcopy. Your gynecologist will only recommend taking a biopsy, or tissue sample from the cervix or vagina if there are any abnormalities detected that require further testing. If you have to undergo a cervical biopsy, our gynecologist will use a sharp instrument to remove a piece of tissue. It’s normal to feel pressure and cramping during a biopsy. While it can be uncomfortable it shouldn’t be painful.
After the biopsy, we will send your samples to a lab for testing. It can take up to one week or more to get your results. We will provide you with further instructions including coming back into our office for the results. If there are cancerous cells present within the cervix further testing or treatment may be required including,
Cryotherapy (to freeze the abnormal cells)
Cone biopsy (to cut away tissue containing precancerous cells)
Loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) (an electrical current is used to remove the cells)
There is no downtime associated with getting a colposcopy or a cervical biopsy. Of course, you don’t want to use tampons or place any products inside the vagina for at least two days.
Whether you need to schedule your upcoming Pap smear or you have questions about getting a colposcopy in Atlanta, GA, call Ideal Gynecology at (470) 312-3696.