Colposcopy is a procedure that is done when a patient has an abnormal pap smear or abnormal examination of the cervix. This procedure involves looking directly at the cervix through a type of magnifying device so that Dr. Strobel may be able to further evaluate the cause of the abnormality. The device magnifies the cervix from 2 to 60 times.
Usually the procedure takes about 20 minutes. It involves minor discomfort due to prolonged examination. If biopsies are required, there may be more cramping involved. A biopsy is when a small amount of tissue is removed from the cervix. We recommend that our patients take ibuprofen or naproxen about 30 minutes prior to the procedure to help with the cramping in the event that biopsies are required.
Dr. Strobel will usually place a small amount of acetic acid (vinegar) onto the cervix and vagina. She will then carefully evaluate the vagina and cervix to try to find any area that may appear slightly abnormal. She also usually places a strong type of iodine onto the cervix and vagina which will make abnormal areas turn yellow. This is another method which aids Dr. Strobel in finding any abnormalities. At this point, Dr. Strobel will perform a biopsy if necessary but not before telling you so that there are no surprises.
Biopsy results usually require up to 1 week. We call our patients to inform them of the results. If you have not received your results within one week, please call the office.
At the least, most patients will require more frequent Pap tests initially to make sure that the abnormal results resolve. If something more worrisome should return on the biopsy results, treatment may be required such as cryotherapy (freezing), LEEP (loop electrosurgical excision procedure) or cone biopsy. These procedures are done in the outpatient surgery section of the hospital but are day surgery procedures.