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Article title: COLPOSCOPY: NWHIC

Conditions: colposcopy

Source: NWHIC


What is a colposcopy?
What happens during the procedure?
What happens after the procedure?
What are the benefits of this procedure?
What are the risks involved with the procedure?

See also...

What is a colposcopy?

A colposcopy allows your doctor or nurse to look very closely at your cervix using a colposcope, an instrument with a series of lenses that magnify the tissues in the cervix.

What happens during the procedure?

Initially, a colposcopy feels similar to a Pap smear. However, instead of taking a sample of the cervical cells, your health care providor will place the colposcope at the vaginal opening. If your cervical tissue appears abnormal, he/she may use an instrument to cut off a small tissue sample. This is called a biopsy. You may feel a slight pinch or cramp. The tissue will be sent to a lab for analysis.

What happens after the procedure?

You may feel a little lightheaded afterwards, but many women feel no after effects. Consult with your doctor or nurse about what steps you should take and when you need to return for a checkup.

What are the benefits of this procedure?

Your health care providor should be able to make a more specific diagnosis of the problem in your cervix and suggest further treatment if necessary.

What are the risks involved with the procedure?

If a biopsy is performed there might be some minor bleeding from the biopsy site. Infection could occur, but is rare. Please consult with your doctor or nurse to see how these risks apply to you. After the procedure, your should call your doctor immediately if you experience heavy bleeding, a fever, or pelvic pain.

For More Information...

You can find out more about Pap smears and cervical cancer by contacting the following organizations:

National Cancer Institute's Cancer Information Service

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

National Cervical Cancer Coalition (818)909-3849

Back to FAQ Index


Publication date: 1998



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