Colposcopy and Biopsy

Posted on March 13, 2015 by Web Developer.

What is a colposcopy?

A colposcopy is a way to get a close-up view of the cervix.   It is used to detect changes in cervical and vaginal tissues such as abnormal blood vessels, color, patterns and tissue structure .
A colposcope, is an instrument with a range of magnifying lens; colour filter and a light are used. The colposcope magnifies the image many times, allowing the gynaecologist to see the tissues on the cervix and vaginal walls more clearly while color filters allow the detection of tiny abnormal blood vessels on the cervix.

Why is colposcopy done?

Colposcopy is usually done when
• the result of a Pap smear is abnormal, or
• when the cervix looks abnormal to the gynaecologist performing the pelvic exam and Pap smear or
• when one  need to find the cause of unexplained bleeding or other problems

What’s a biopsy?
A biopsy is the removal of a small piece of tissue from the cervix with a biopsy forceps.
When a part of the cervix does not look normal, biopsy (ies) will be required for further evaluation.  The gynaecologist removes a tiny sample of the cervix and sends it to a lab.   A biopsy is often done during a colposcopy procedure.

Are Colposcopy and Biopsy Painful?
The cervix does not have many nerve endings as such the colposcopy procedure is relatively pain-free and does not require an anaesthetic.  Some women however do feel mild stinging or burning sensation when the vinegar like solution is applied.
In the case of a biopsy, you may have some discomfort like a sharp pinch when the sample is being taken.

Colposcopy and Biopsy procedures

The procedure(s) take about 15 minutes.
• A speculum is inserted into the vagina to give a view of the cervix and vagina.  Some discomfort will be felt when the speculum is inserted.
• The doctor then cleans the cervix by rinsing it with a saline solution.  Then, the cervix is painted with a concentration of acetic acid.  The acetic acid stains abnormal cells white and makes them more visible.  You will feel a little burning sensation from the solution.  Iodine solution may also be applied to make the epithelial of the abnormal cervical cells easier to see.
• The colposcope will be placed at the opening of the vagina and does not enter the body.
• The gynaecologist looks at the magnified cervix and vagina through the colposcope to locate any problem areas on the cervix and in the vagina.  If an abnormality is found, a biopsy or tissue sample is taken, to improve the accuracy of diagnosis.
• In the case of biopsy, the doctor will first numb the area where the sample is to be taken, however you may still feel the pinch when the small minute size tissue is excised.
• The doctor may also take tissue samples from inside the cervix canal (an area that cannot be seen from the outside of the cervix) using an endocervical brush or endocervical curettage (ECC).
• The tissue collected is then sent to a lab.

After a colposcopy exam you may experience some slight discomfort and some bleeding for a day or two.

Colposcopy Results
You should get the results of your Colposcopy within a week. It is important to make a Cervical Cancer diagnosis as early as possible.
If potentially abnormal cervical cells or Cervical Cancer is found in colposcopy, you may be asked to have additional testing to determine staging, treatment options and prognosis.

Most colposcopy results come back normal and even when results show potentially abnormal cells, they are usually not cancerous. They may go away on their own or with simple treatment.
The colposcopy procedure is safe during pregnancy. Your gynaecologist may delay performing a biopsy, if possible as pregnant women may have more bleeding after biopsies than women who are not due to the increased in the blood supply to the cervix during pregnancy.
Colposcopy and biopsy should not affect your ability to have children in the future.

 

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