Sometimes a cervical screening smear may show some abnormalities that will need further examination or come back with no clear results. A colposcopy allows your Consultant to examine the cervix and highlight the areas of irregularity, taking small samples of tissue, where necessary, for closer examination.
You may also be referred for a colposcopy biopsy if:
- You are experiencing unexplained vaginal bleeding
- You have tested positive for the human papillomavirus (HPV)
- The professional who carried out your screening highlighted that your cervix may not be as healthy as it should
Fast action to ensure you receive the treatment you need
Your Consultant may highlight abnormal cells during the cervical biopsy procedure and recommend additional treatment, which can often be carried out within the same appointment. This treatment is called a large loop excision of the transformation zone (LLETZ) which involves using a thin, wire loop with a heated current to remove these cells ( you will be given a local anaesthetic). Sometimes, you may need to wait for the colposcopy biopsy results before proceeding with LLETZ treatment, but your Consultant will be able to discuss this with you.
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What does a colposcopy involve?
A colposcopy is similar to a cervical screening smear in that your Consultant will use a device called a speculum to gently open your vagina for further examination. They will then use a special microscope with a light attached, called a colposcope, to look at your cervix. Sometimes the colposcope may use a camera so you may see your cervix on a screen.
Your Consultant will apply a special solution to the cervix, allowing them to highlight the abnormal cells and take a small sample of tissue (biopsy) for further examination. Your Consultant will indicate whether you may require a LLETZ procedure to remove any cells.
Will it hurt?
A colposcopy should not cause you any pain, although you may experience some slight discomfort when the speculum is inserted into your vagina or when your Consultant takes a small sample of cells – this may feel like a small scratch or pinch.
What is a LLETZ procedure?
During your colposcopy, your Consultant may highlight abnormal cells and recommend an additional treatment called a large loop excision of the transformation zone (LLETZ). This can often be carried out within the same appointment.
For this procedure a local anaesthetic will be applied and your Consultant will use a thin, wire loop with a heated current to remove the abnormal cells. Sometimes, you may need to wait for the colposcopy biopsy results before proceeding with LLETZ treatment, but your Consultant will be able to discuss this with you.
Will a LLETZ procedure hurt?
A local anaesthetic will be applied around the cervix ahead of the procedure, but you may experience some mild pain that is similar to period pain.
Following the procedure, there will be some bleeding, so you will be provided with a sanitary towel. You may also experience some light bleeding for several weeks following the procedure, which your Consultant will explain to you during your appointment.
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Alternatively to speak to a member of our team, please call 01622 237 500.