A cervical biopsy is a surgical procedure by which a small amount of tissue sample are taken from the cervix and examined for any disease or problems. Cervix refers to the narrow end of the uterus at the end of the vagina. Cervical biopsy is done to detect risk for developing cervical cancer. It is a diagnostic tool for benign polyps on the cervix or genital warts. Normally it is performed by her gynecologist.
As such, cervical biopsies can be done by three different methods, the punch biopsy where small pieces of tissue are taken from her cervix by an instrument called biopsy forceps, the cone biopsy, where a large cone shaped tissue is taken by scalpel or laser and endocervical biopsy, where cells are removed by a hand held instrument, shaped like a small scoop.
Cervical biopsies are done a week following menstruation. This will enable the doctor get a clean specimen. As some medications can increase the risk of bleeding, it is recommended to stop taking these drugs for some time before the biopsy. Similarly, the patient is advised to avoid using tampons and medicated vaginal creams for at least 24 hours before the procedure. Sexual intercourse should also be refrained from.
The cervical biopsy procedure is not elaborate. A routine pelvic exam is done and the gynecologist administers local anesthetic. A speculum is inserted into the vagina and the canal open during the procedure after the cervix is washed with vinegar and water. This is Schiller test, by which the doctor is able to identify the abnormal tissues. The procedure is not painful; only a pinching sensation is felt. After the biopsy is done, the doctor packs the cervix with absorbent material to reduce the amount of bleeding, but not every biopsy needs such packing.
The recovery process will vary and this depends upon the type of biopsy performed. Except for some mild cramping and spotting, recovery is not difficult. At times, the cramping and bleeding may run for a week. Post cervical biopsy activities are restricted and it is better to avoid heavy lifting, intercourse, using tampons for several weeks especially after a cone biopsy.
Colposcopy is a diagnostic tool that is often followed after an abnormal Pap smear test. A colposcope is much like a large electric microscope that allows the physician to visualize the cervix, vaginal and genital area. The physician aplies vinegar solution so that abnormal tissues may appear white. Colposcopy aids in viewing the cervix for any abnormal vascular changes. A colposcopy is suggested when there is any abnormality observed in the cervix or there is evidence of HPV. With a camera attached, images can be saved for records. During this procedure, any tissue sample or cervical biopsy can be taken for further investigation. This may cause slight discomfort and cramping. This diagnostic tool can be helpful in detecting any inflammation, cancerous growth or infection. Early detection of cervical cancer is possible with colposcopy. Colposcopy is done in cases where a woman has unexplained bleeding during intercourse or there is any abnormal tissue on the cervix, vagina or vulva.
Bibliography / Reference
Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: December 12, 2017