Colposcopy and Cervical Biopsy
How It Is Done continued...
If areas of abnormal tissue are found on the cervix, your doctor
will take a small sample (cervical biopsy) of the tissue. Usually
several samples are taken. The samples are looked at under a microscope for
changes in the cells that may mean cancer may be present or is likely to
develop. If bleeding occurs, a special liquid (Monsel's) or silver nitrate swab
may be used on the biopsy area to stop the bleeding.
If a sample of tissue is needed from inside the opening of the
cervix (the endocervical canal), a test called endocervical curettage (ECC)
will be done. Since the endocervical canal cannot be seen by the colposcope, a
small sharp-edged tool called a curette is gently put into the endocervical
canal to take a sample. ECC takes less than a minute to do and may cause mild
cramping. An ECC is not done during pregnancy.
Colposcopy and a cervical biopsy usually take about 15
How It Feels
You may feel some discomfort when the vaginal speculum is inserted.
You may feel a pinch and have some cramping if a biopsy sample is taken.
In rare cases, a cervical biopsy can cause an infection or
bleeding. Bleeding can usually be stopped by using a special liquid or swab on
After the test
If you have a biopsy, you may feel some soreness in your vagina for a day or two. Some
vaginal bleeding or discharge is normal for up to a week after a biopsy. The
discharge may be dark-colored if Monsel's solution was used. You can use a
sanitary pad for the bleeding. Do not douche, have sex, or use tampons for one
week, to allow time for your cervix to heal. Do not exercise for 1 day after
Follow any instructions your doctor gave you. Call your doctor if
- Heavy vaginal bleeding (more than a normal
- A fever.
- Bad-smelling vaginal discharge.
Colposcopy is a way for your doctor to use a special magnifying
device to look at your
vagina , and
Your doctor will talk to you about what he or she sees at the time
of the colposcopy. Lab results from a
biopsy may take several days or more.
Colposcopy and cervical biopsy
The vinegar or iodine does not show any areas of abnormal
tissue. The vagina and cervix look normal.
A biopsy sample does not show any abnormal
The vinegar or iodine shows areas of abnormal tissue. Sores
or other problems, such as
genital warts or an infection, are found in or around
the vagina or cervix.
A biopsy sample shows abnormal cells. This may mean
cervical cancer is present or likely to develop.