A colposcopy is a procedure used to examine your cervix and vagina using a medical device called a colposcope. The colposcope brightly illuminates and magnifies the area being examined, which makes it easier to see changes in tissues, identify abnormal cells, and take a biopsy if needed.
Your doctor at The Association for Women’s Health Care may perform a colposcopy if a Pap test or cervical exam revealed:
Several tests can be done during a colposcopy to help the doctor identify potential problems:
Acetic acid wash: When the cervix is brushed with acetic acid, abnormal cells turn white, which helps the doctor identify any problem areas.
Color filters: During a colposcopy, filters may be applied to the colposcope that help the doctor detect changes in small blood vessels that often develop as a result of precancerous changes.
Cervical biopsy: If any abnormalities are suspected, a biopsy is performed during the colposcopy. Your doctor at The Association for Women’s Health Care will remove a sample of tissue from abnormal areas, which will then be examined under a microscope.
Cervical biopsies can be done several ways, using a laser, scalpel, or a punch instrument to remove a piece of tissue. In some cases, an instrument called a curette may be used to simply scrape tissue from the cervix.
A colposcopy begins just like a regular pelvic exam, with a speculum used to open the vagina and enable the doctor to examine the cervix. The colposcope is positioned near the opening of the vagina, but without touching you, then the doctor apples the acetic acid wash, visually examines the cervix, and performs a biopsy if necessary. The entire procedure typically takes about 15 minutes and usually doesn’t cause any discomfort.
The physicians at The Association for Women’s Health Care have extensive experience performing colposcopies. Your team here understands the stress and anxiety caused by even a hint of cancer or other health problems, so we’re here to answer questions and offer support.
Not all of the Association of Women’s Health Care (AWHC) physicians participate in all of the plans listed below. Patients are advised to contact their insurance company before an appointment to verify individual physician participation. *Please note that our insurance plans may change or we may not be accepting certain types of insurance at times, so please contact us at Chicago (312) 726-3917 or Northbrook (847) 498-0690 to check if we take your insurance plan.
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