Colposcopy is a procedure that is necessary for some women with abnormal pap smears or who are positive for high risk HPV (Human Papilloma Virus). It is the method by which abnormalities of cervical cells are diagnosed.
Colposcopy is an examination of the cervix using a lighted microscope, called a colposcope, designed to give a magnified view of the tissue lining the cervix. Aided by light and magnification and using simple techniques to highlight abnormal cells, your medical provider is able to detect areas of abnormality and will biopsy (removal of tissue for diagnostic evaluation), if necessary. No special preparation is needed nor is any anesthesia or pain medicine necessary, but it cannot be performed while a woman is actively menstruating. The procedure takes 10-15 minutes on average. The only discomfort is at the time of biopsy if that is required. Recovery from the procedure is only a few minutes, and normal activities may be resumed immediately in most cases. All patients are required to schedule a follow-up appointment to discuss results if biopsy is obtained.
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