When compared to a pap smear, how does a colposcopy differ?
In a pap test, commonly known as a pap smear, a sample of cells is taken from a woman’s cervix and examined under a microscope to look for signs of precancerous alterations that could progress to cervical cancer. In the event that your pap test reveals some abnormal cells and you are found to be positive for HPV, a colposcopy can assist in confirming and diagnosing any potential issues that may exist. The human papillomavirus, also known as HPV, is a virus that has been linked to an increased likelihood of developing several different types of cancer, including cervical and vulvar cancers.
What takes place during a colposcopy?
It is possible to have a colposcopy performed in the office of either your primary care physician or your gynecologist. After getting into a supine position on the exam table, the next step is to put your heels into the stirrups that are located at the table’s end. Your vagina will be opened with a speculum device, which will give your doctor a better view of your cervix and allow them to examine it more thoroughly.
Your cervix, vulva, and vagina will each receive a little rubbing with a solution that contains either vinegar or iodine. This helps your doctor see any abnormal spots more clearly. The colposcope is placed between your legs in order to get as close to the vagina as necessary, but it is not allowed to enter your body at any point throughout the procedure.
If the doctor notices a suspicious area while performing the colposcopy, what will happen next?
Your doctor may take a sample of any parts of your cervix that appear to be unhealthy while doing the colposcopy. The removal of a small sample of tissue for the purpose of evaluation by a pathologist is what is meant by the term “biopsy.”
By examining the tissue sample underneath a microscope, a pathologist can determine whether or not there are any aberrant cells present. Only a biopsy can definitively determine whether or not you have cancer or precancerous tissue, even though a colposcopy can raise the possibility that you do. If the aberrant area being biopsied is quite tiny, your physician may be able to remove the entirety of it during the procedure.
The location of the tissue that needs to be biopsied will determine the kind of biopsy that must be performed on you. For instance, one approach for doing a cervical tissue biopsy involves the use of a device that pinches out small portions of the problematic areas. In addition to doing a colposcopy, the doctor may perform an endocervical curettage biopsy to examine a region within the entrance of the cervix that is not visible during the procedure.
During certain biopsies, you might feel a pinching sensation or discomfort comparable to menstrual cramps. Before performing a biopsy, it is common practice to numb the region with a local anesthetic. Talk to your primary care physician about the many biopsies that might be performed on you throughout your colposcopy.
What should You do in the days leading up to a colposcopy?
Your physician may recommend that you refrain from taking any vaginal medications, lotions, powders, or foams for at least 24 to 48 hours prior to colposcopy. You should also refrain from having vaginal sex, inserting tampons, or inserting any other goods into your vagina during this time period.
Colposcopies shouldn’t be scheduled for the week of your period, and you should inform your doctor in advance if you think you could be pregnant or if you are pregnant before going in for your visit. In addition, you may want to inquire with your physician about the possibility of taking over-the-counter painkillers before the examination in the event that a biopsy is performed.
Will You experience any negative side effects as a result of having the colposcopy?
A colposcopy will not directly produce any adverse effects on the patient in any way. On the other hand, if a biopsy is performed during the colposcopy, you may experience a dark vaginal secretion for a few days after the procedure. This is a result of the solution that the doctors employ to lessen the likelihood of bleeding during the biopsy process. You might also have cramps, bleeding, or pain during this time.
After the examination, you should get in touch with your primary care physician as soon as possible if you experience any of the following symptoms: they get worse, they don’t go away, you have really heavy bleeding, significant discomfort in your lower stomach or pelvis, or a fever. As you did before the colposcopy, refrain from having vaginal intercourse and using any form of goods or drugs that are intended to be used inside the vaginal canal until your physician gives you the green light.
What should you do when you receive the findings of the biopsy?
If a biopsy that is performed during your colposcopy reveals that you have precancerous tissue, then it is possible that the tissue will need to be removed in order to prevent cancer from forming. Your doctor will walk you through the various removal options that are available to determine which one is best for you.
If the results of the biopsy indicate that cancer is present, you will likely need to undergo additional testing before beginning treatment. It is likely that your primary care physician will provide you with a referral to see a gynecologic oncologist, a specialist in the treatment of gynecologic cancer. You may have further colposcopies while you are undergoing treatment for any pre-cancerous tissue or cancer. These colposcopies are performed to determine how well a medication is working and to search for new abnormal changes as time passes.
DYSIS: Smart Colposcopy
Innovative technology is known as DYSIS: Smart colposcopy with cervical mapping generates data to assist medical practitioners in quickly detecting cervical abnormalities. This technology combines colposcopy with cervical mapping. Medical experts carry out a typical colposcopic examination with a DYSIS smart Colposcope. Concurrently, the DYSIS proprietary software quantifies acetowhitening changes in an objective manner. This data is then displayed on a color-coded DYSIS map.
The New U Women’s Clinic is the only facility in the neighborhood to offer sophisticated cervical imaging using the DYSIS Ultra system. In the event that a Pap smear comes back abnormal, Dr. Fidino and the rest of her staff will employ this cutting-edge digital colposcope with a cervical map to assist in the diagnosis, biopsy, and management of the cervical disease. If you have any concerns or queries regarding the process, you are more than welcome to schedule a consultation.