A colposcopy procedure is a routine, in-office procedure that utilizes a microscope, known as a “colposcope” in order to better visualize cells of the cervix. Colposcopy procedures are typically performed following an abnormal Pap smear finding. Pap smear screening, also known as co-testing when performed with HPV testing, is part of routine cervical cancer screening performed at a patient’s Annual Well-Woman Exam. When an abnormality is detected in this screening, further evaluation is typically warranted in the form of colposcopy.
The procedure itself is short and should last ten minutes or less. The patient is placed in the same position they are placed during their pap smear. After placement of a speculum, acetic acid solution is applied with a cotton swab to the cervix in order to allow for better visualization of cervical cell changes in the colposcope. After careful visualization, the provider may then take a small tissue sample to send to pathology to determine severity of lesions. Typically results take five business days to return to the office, and at that time your provider will help make an individualized plan of care based on the findings of the exam.
On the day of your procedure, patients can take up to 800 mg of ibuprofen one hour prior to their appointment time to help with any cramping or discomfort they may experience during the exam. If there is any patient concern for pregnancy or heavy bleeding due to menses, these should be voiced to the provider prior to the start of the procedure. Nothing should be placed in the vagina for one week following colposcopy procedures. Please speak with your provider about any specific individual concerns you may have prior to arriving for your colposcopy procedure.