Colposcopy and Cervical Biopsy
Reference Colposcopy Opens New Window is a way for your doctor to use a special magnifying device to look at your Reference vulva Opens New Window, Reference vagina Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window, and Reference cervix Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window. If a problem is seen during colposcopy, a small sample of tissue (Reference biopsy Opens New Window) may be taken from the cervix or from inside the opening of the cervix (endocervical canal). The sample is looked at under a microscope.
Colposcopy is usually done to look at the vagina and cervix when the result of a Reference Pap test Opens New Window is abnormal. Most abnormal Pap tests are caused by viral infections, such as Reference human papillomavirus (HPV) Opens New Window infection, or other types of infection, such as those caused by bacteria, fungi (yeast), or protozoa (Trichomonas). Natural cervical cell changes (Reference atrophic vaginitis Opens New Window) related to Reference menopause Opens New Window can also cause an abnormal Pap test. In some cases, untreated cervical cell changes that cause abnormal Pap tests may progress to precancerous or cancerous changes.
During colposcopy, your doctor uses a lighted magnifying device that looks like a pair of binoculars (colposcope). The colposcope allows your doctor to see problems that would be missed by the naked eye. A camera can be attached to the colposcope to take pictures or videos of the vagina and cervix.
Your doctor may put vinegar (acetic acid) and sometimes iodine (Lugol's solution) on the vagina and cervix with a cotton swab or cotton balls to see problem areas more clearly.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference October 22, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology