Colposcopy is an examination of the cervix. It allows the specialist to find any cell changes and to assess the extent of the changes.
During colposcopy, the examiner studies the vulva, cervix, and vagina with a colposcope, an instrument that contains a magnifying lens and a light. The areas to be studied are first bathed in white vinegar (5% acetic acid), which causes abnormal areas to turn white.
Colposcopy is an examination of the cervix. It allows the specialist to find any cell changes and to assess the extent of the changes. The examination can be uncomfortable but it should not be painful. It will last for five to ten minutes. Our colposcopes are connected to a television monitor, if you like, you can watch the procedure as it happens. If you do not wish to do this, please tell the doctor or nurse.
A colposcope is a magnifying instrument, like binoculars on a stand which we use to look at the cervix. You will be asked to undress from the waist down and will be given a gown to wear. At the start of the examination your legs are placed in leg-supports. These can be adjusted to suit you, so if you are not comfortable, please ask for them to be adjusted before the examination begins.
All suspicious Pap smears should be evaluated by colposcopy. The colposcope is a portable microscope (magnification from 10× to 25×) that allows the examiner to visualize the cervix and obtain a sample of abnormal tissue for analysis. Nurse practitioners and gynecologists require special training in this diagnostic technique.
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After inserting a speculum and visualizing the cervix and vaginal walls, the examiner applies acetic acid to the cervix. Subsequent abnormal findings that indicate the need for biopsy include leukoplakia (white plaque visible before applying acetic acid), acetowhite tissue (white epithelium after applying acetic acid), punctuation (dilated capillaries occurring in a dotted or stippled pattern), mosaicism (a tile-like pattern), and atypical vascular patterns.
An endocervical curettage may be performed during colposcopy if a problem is suspected based on Pap smear findings. This analysis of tissue from the cervical canal is used to determine whether abnormal changes have occurred in the cervical canal. If these biopsy specimens show premalignant cells or CIN, the patient usually needs cryotherapy, laser therapy, or a cone biopsy (excision of an inverted tissue cone from the cervix)