Maiden Lane Medical
Gynecologists located in New York, NY
If you’ve had an abnormal Pap smear, the board-certified gynecologists at Maiden Lane Medical in New York, NY can use colposcopy to examine your cervix in detail. The test allows precise analysis, which helps prevent gynecological diseases like cervical cancer. Call Maiden Lane Medical or make an appointment online today if you need expert gynecological health care.
What is a colposcopy?
The colposcopy is a procedure to look at your cervix and vagina through a microscope to identify patches of tissue or lesions that appear abnormal. During a colposcopy, your provider uses a colposcope, an instrument that looks like a large microscope, to obtain a magnified view of your cervix.
A colposcopy is noninvasive and more or less painless. You might feel some pressure from the speculum or a mild pinch if your doctor needs to take a biopsy — sample of cells. The whole process only takes 10-20 minutes.
Why do I need a colposcopy?
Depending on your age and risk, you have a Pap smear and human papillomavirus (HPV) every one to three years. If one of your routine Pap smears has an abnormal result, your provider may recommend a colposcopy to examine your cervix in more detail.
Around 10% of Pap smears have abnormal results. In most cases, abnormal Pap smear results are due to benign conditions, including inflammation or even as a result of recent sexual activity. So you don’t need to worry. A colposcopy simply allows your provider to gather more information to confirm the cause of your abnormal results.
The experienced gynecologists at Maiden Lane Medical also use colposcopy to determine what if any further treatment is needed for possible precancerous or cancerous lesions of the cervix and surrounding tissue.
How should I prepare for a colposcopy?
You don’t need to do anything special to prepare for a colposcopy. However, you should schedule your appointment when you don’t have your period. Also, don’t put anything into your vagina for 24 hours before your appointment, including tampons, douche, or medicine. You should also refrain from vaginal sex for 24 hours before your colposcopy.
It’s more challenging for your provider to get a clear look at your cervix during your period. Also, vaginal sex or inserting other items into your vagina can cause inflammation and irritation, which can look abnormal.
What can I expect during a colposcopy?
This procedure is done in the office and does not require an anesthetic. You recline on a treatment table with your feet in stirrups, much like when you have your Pap smear. Your doctor inserts a speculum to hold your vagina open so they can get a clear look at your cervix.
Your provider might brush your cervix with a vinegar solution. The wash might sting a little, but it helps abnormal cells stand out against your healthy tissue. For example, herpes lesions are flesh-toned, but the vinegar wash makes them look white.
Then, your doctor positions the colposcope outside of your vagina. They look through the device for a magnified view of your cervix and surrounding tissues.
Depending on what your gynecologist sees, they might take a biopsy from your cervix and send it to a pathologist for a diagnosis. A biopsy sometimes causes a pinching sensation when the doctor takes the sample. Some patients also report mild cramping feeling that’s similar to a menstrual cramp.
What can I expect after the procedure?
Most women return to work and their daily activities immediately following the procedure, but some report feeling sore or having mild cramping for a few days. You may have spotting or a dark discharge for a couple of days. You can wear a pantyliner or light pad for a few days. You should also avoid vaginal sex or inserting anything into your vagina for about five days. This allows sufficient time for your cervix to heal from the biopsies.
What are the potential risks of the procedure?
It is unusual to have problems after a colposcopy. If biopsies are taken, there is always a small risk of bleeding or infection. You should notify your provider after the procedure if you experience heavy bleeding (be sure it is not your period of course), abnormal discharge or vaginal odor, severe pain, or fever.
How will I get my results from the colposcopy?
In most cases, the team at Maiden Lane Medical gets the results from biopsies within two weeks. You have a follow-up appointment approximately two weeks after your colposcopy. You and your doctor discuss the results of the colposcopy and the biopsies.
Your provider discusses possible further treatments and proper follow-up with surveillance pap tests. If you have any questions about your results, ask your provider. They can explain your results and recommendations to help you understand your condition and healthcare needs.
What are the treatment options if my biopsies are abnormal?
The team of women’s health experts at Maiden Lane Medical provides customized treatment plans to address your specific condition. They review your treatment options at your two-week follow-up appointment.
For example, some abnormal cells require nothing more than repeat Pap tests and other monitoring services. In other cases, your provider might recommend in-office procedures like cryotherapy or loop electrosurgical excision procedures (LEEP) to remove your abnormal cells.
If your abnormal Pap results are due to an infection or inflammatory condition, your doctor can prescribe medication. Some diseases, like herpes, don’t have a cure, but your doctor can provide a management plan to prevent flare-ups and protect your health.
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