Colposcopy

Colposcopy is a medical diagnostic procedure to examine an illuminated, magnified view of the cervix and the tissues of the vagina and vulva. Many premalignant lesions and malignant lesions in these areas have discernible characteristics which can be detected through the examination. The main goal of colposcopy is to prevent cervical cancer by detecting precancerous lesions early and treating them. A specialized Colposcopy is a medical diagnostic procedure to examine an illuminated, magnified view of the cervix and the tissues of the vagina and vulva. Many premalignant lesions and malignant lesions in these areas have discernible characteristics which can be detected through the examination. The main goal of colposcopy is to prevent cervical cancer by detecting precancerous lesions early and treating them.

Colposcopy is must when the result of a Pap test is abnormal. Most abnormal Pap tests are caused by viral infections, such as human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, or other types of infection, such as those caused by bacteria, fungi (yeast), or protozoa (Trichomonas). Natural cervical cell changes (atrophic vaginitis) related to menopause 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.

Steps taken:

Colposcopy is usually done to look at the vagina and cervix when the result of a Pap test is abnormal. Colposcope is 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. A colposcope is used to identify visible clues suggestive of abnormal tissue. It functions as a lighted binocular microscope to magnify the view of the cervix, vagina, and vulvar surface. Colposcopy is performed with the woman lying back, legs in stirrups, and buttocks at the lower edge of the table (a position known as the dorsal lithotomy position). A speculum is placed in the vagina after the vulva is examined for any suspicious lesions. Colposcopy is recommended if patient’s Pap test has shown abnormal results. A specialised colposcope equipped with a camera is also used in examining and collecting evidence for victims of rape and sexual assaultDuring the procedure for clearer picture and clarity, doctor uses iodine (Lugol's solution) on the vagina and cervix with a cotton swab to see problem areas more clearly.

Once the procedure is planned by the gynaecologists, the patient is advised to refrain from sexual intercourse, applying any medication to the vagina, as it can misguide the diagnosis. Sometime, if some unusual finds are observed, the gynaecologist may scarp the tissues for biopsy from the cervical area. Colposcopy can not be performed during the menstrual cycle and hence needs to be planned.

Advantages:

Early detection of cervical cancer and tissue lesions is achieved with colposcopy procedures.

Precautions:

Alike any other procedure, patient must discuss all concerns about the procedure r and give all the details about the health status and medical history to the doctor. If the patient pregnant the doctor must be informed. There is risk to the pregnancy if Colposcopy is to be performed during the pregnancy, a blood and urine tests shall be performed to determine absence and or presence of pregnancy and also to know the general health status. In case of bleeding during the biopsy or from the previous miscarriage, the procedure can be repeated about after 6 weeks. Patient must inform the doctor of any allergic history, medicines, bleeding problems, treatment with blood thinners, infections for pelvic region.

FAQs

If abnormal cells are found during my colposcopy, does that mean I have cancer?

No. Abnormal cells in the tissue of your cervix can be caused by many different things and are only sometimes a sign of pre-cancerous cells. This means cells that contain changes that may possibly turn into cancer if they aren't treated.

Can I have a colposcopy if I'm pregnant?

Yes, it's safe for you to have a colposcopy if you're pregnant and it won't harm your baby. However, it may be possible to delay the test.

What Happens After A Colposcopy?

Colposcopy recovery is painless, unless you have had a biopsy during the procedure. If you've had a colposcopy without the other procedures, you should feel fine immediately after colposcopy. If on the other hand, you did have a biopsy during your colposcopy experience some after effects. These include vaginal soreness or discomfort, vaginal bleeding, or a dark vaginal discharge.

Is colposcopy risky procedure?

No; not at all. It is a painless procedure and causes no risk to life.

Is it a normal practice to undergo diagnosis with colposcopy?

Yes; it a painless safe method of early diagnosis for any major underlying disease of the cervix and the surrounding area such as cancer.

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