While you may never need a colposcopy, it can be a necessary, life-saving procedure if your OB/GYN recommends one.
What is a Colposcopy?
A colposcopy is a pretty straightforward procedure to look at the cervix, the lower part of the womb, at the top of the vagina. It’s often performed if a patient’s cervical screening finds abnormal cells in your cervix. These cells usually go away on their own, but sometimes there’s a risk they could eventually turn into cervical cancer if left untreated.
This is where a colposcopy comes in—it can confirm whether those cells in your cervix are abnormal and determine whether you need treatment to remove them. You may be referred for a colposcopy within a few weeks of your cervical screening if:
- Your nurse or doctor thought your cervix did not look as healthy as it should during your screening,
- Some of the cells in your screening sample are abnormal, or
- It was not possible to give you a clear result after several cervical screenings
A colposcopy can also be used to find out the cause of other problems, such as unusual vaginal bleeding (e.g. bleeding after sex). It’s not the end of the world if you’ve been referred for a colposcopy. It’s very unlikely that you have cancer or that your abnormal cells will get worse.
What To Expect
Colposcopies are usually carried out in a hospital clinic, taking about 15 to 20 minutes. There is no recovery time, and you can go home that same day. During the procedure, you’ll have to undress from the waist down and lie down in a chair with padded supports for your legs. Your OB/GYN will insert a speculum into your vagina and gently open it. Then, they will use a microscope with a light to look at your cervix.
They will apply liquids to your cervix to highlight any abnormal areas, and they may take a biopsy (a small sample of tissue) for closer examination in a laboratory. This part may be a bit uncomfortable, so Dr. Susan Fox always tries to make her patients feel comfortable during this process. If it’s more evident that you have abnormal cells in your cervix, you’ll likely be offered treatment to remove the cells immediately. If this is not clear, you’ll need to wait until your OB/GYN receives your biopsy results.
It’s often possible to know immediately if there are any abnormal cells in your cervix. But if you had a biopsy, it may take 4 to 8 weeks to get your results in the post. The result of your colposcopy and/or biopsy will be either:
- Normal. About 4 out of 10 people have no abnormal cells and are advised to continue attending cervical screenings as usual.
- Abnormal. About 6 out of 10 people have abnormal cells in their cervix and may need treatment to remove them.
What If I Need Treatment?
Your doctor will recommend removing abnormal cells if there’s a moderate or high chance of the cells becoming cancerous if left untreated. Several simple and effective treatments can be used to remove the abnormal cells, including a large loop excision of the transformation zone (LLETZ), or a cone biopsy.
The LLETZ method involves a heated wire loop that removes the abnormal cells. This procedure is not painful, but you’ll be awake. Fortunately, you can go home the same day. A cone biopsy utilizes a cone-shaped piece of tissue to contain the abnormal cells and then cut them out from your cervix. Because this procedure requires general anesthesia (you will not be awake), you may need to stay in the hospital overnight.
Colposcopy in Miami | Dr. Susan Fox, OB/GYN
Dr. Susan Fox earned her medical degree at the University of Health Sciences in Des Moines, Iowa. Since then, she has shared her gynecological expertise throughout many successful hospitals and health centers, such as South Miami Hospital, Westchester General Hospital, and Kendall Medical Center.
Dr. Fox’s years of experience in the field have allowed her to construct a devoted group of professionals who will go the extra mile to ensure their patients are completely satisfied after each appointment. Our team never hesitates to answer any questions a patient may have as thoroughly as possible and work with each patient to find solutions to any issues they may be experiencing.
Whether you are searching for a dependable OB/GYN specialist for routine gynecological care or a knowledgeable practitioner to perform a pelvic reconstructive surgery, Dr. Susan Fox’s Center for Women is your most secure option. Your wellness is of the utmost importance to us, and we will do everything within our power to keep our patients happy and healthy.
Contact us today and book an appointment at our Miami office right through our website! We are happy to assist you during your visit and help you understand your body the best way possible.