Colposcopy is a non-invasive procedure that utilises a specialised microscope called a colposcope to closely examine the cervix, the opening to the uterus or womb.
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What is Colposcopy?

During a colposcopy, a thorough microscopic examination is conducted on the cells of the cervix (the entrance to the womb) and the vagina. If there are indications of abnormal cell growth, a biopsy is taken by the doctor to obtain a sample for further analysis.

The collected tissue samples assist the doctor in determining appropriate treatment for any identified issues. Early detection of cervical cancer or precancerous cell changes allows for effective treatment and a high likelihood of cure. In cases of precancerous conditions and early-stage cervical cancers, removal of a portion of the cervix may be sufficient as the sole required treatment.

What are the reasons for having a colposcopy?

Colposcopy is typically performed in response to an abnormal Pap test result, which is a routine screening test conducted to detect cervical cancer and other potential issues. Additionally, a woman may require a colposcopy if the doctor observes any abnormalities in the cervix, vagina, or vulva (the vaginal opening) during a pelvic examination.
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How is a colposcopy performed?

During a colposcopy you will lie on an examination table, similar to a regular pelvic exam, while the doctor uses a speculum to gently separate the vaginal walls. Subsequently, the colposcope, a microscope equipped with a light source, is positioned near the vaginal opening, providing a clear view of the cervix.

It's important to note that the colposcope does not enter the vagina itself. Our skilled physician will carefully examine the cervix and vagina for any areas of concern. If necessary, a small tissue sample, known as a biopsy, may be taken for further analysis. During this process, you may experience a slight pinch or cramp, which is normal. Rest assured that any samples obtained will be sent to a laboratory for thorough examination and evaluation.

Cone biopsy

In the event that a larger section of cervical tissue needs to be removed, your consultant may recommend a cone biopsy, which involves taking a cone-shaped tissue sample. A follow-up appointment will be scheduled for the cone biopsy procedure, which is performed under general anesthesia, requiring an overnight hospital stay.

If abnormal cells are detected during the colposcopy, your consultant may opt to remove them from your cervix. This can be done during the same colposcopy session or may require a separate appointment.
Jason Yap - Consultant Gynaecologist
Consultant Gynaecologist, Gynaecological Oncologist & Lead Clinician for Vulval Disease
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What are the risks of colposcopy?

There is a very small risk of infection when you have a colposcopy. Mild pain and cramping may occur during the procedure, with the possibility of experiencing light bleeding afterward. These symptoms are most commonly associated with the biopsy, which involves extracting a small tissue sample from the cervix. However, if you experience heavy bleeding, a fever, or intense pain following the procedure, it is important to promptly contact your doctor for immediate medical attention.
Post procedure information

What to expect after your procedure

Following your colposcopy, our dedicated doctor will discuss the findings observed during the procedure, specifically addressing any concerns related to your vagina and cervix. If a biopsy was conducted, the lab results are typically available within 2 to 3 weeks. We emphasize the importance of post-procedure care and provide clear instructions tailored to your specific needs. Our goal is to ensure your well-being and guide you through the recovery process. If you have any questions or experience heavy bleeding, fever, or severe pain after the colposcopy, it is crucial to contact your doctor promptly for further evaluation and support.