One of the most common female reproductive tests and screenings is for abnormal cells in the cervix. Pam smears and other screenings are routinely performed to determine if there are any signs of cancer risk or other reproductive health concerns. If a pap smear or screening is positive, a more thorough exploration of the cervix may be recommended, usually a colposcopy. As part of our gynecology procedures at FEM Women’s Wellness, we perform colposcopy procedures at our facility in the Reno and Lake Tahoe, NV, area.
What Is a Colposcopy?
If you have an abnormal pap test or cervical cancer screening, you may undergo a colposcopy. This is a more intricate exam to examine the cells and tissue on your cervix, which is at the top of the vaginal canal, the entrance into the uterus. To perform a colposcopy, a device called a colposcope is used. This is a magnifying device that allows a gynecologist to look closely at the cervix tissue.
What to Expect
During a colposcopy procedure, you will lie down on an exam table and put your feet in the stirrups, similar to a routine pelvic exam. A speculum is used to open the vagina to allow a clear view of the cervix. The colposcope does not go inside the vagina – it is placed near the vaginal opening and uses a bright light aimed into the vagina. A GYN specialist uses a solution to clean the surface of the cervix and looks through the magnifying device to look for any signs of cancerous or precancerous cells.
If any abnormalities are noticed during the colposcopy, a biopsy may be performed. This involves taking a small sample of tissue from the outside of the cervix or in the cervix opening. More than one biopsy may be performed, depending on the result of the exam.
A colposcopy is a minimally invasive procedure and only takes about 10 minutes in most cases. This is a valuable tool in detecting cervix cancer for improved treatment options for our patients. If you need a colposcopy, we perform this procedure at our facility in the Carson City, Reno and Lake Tahoe, NV, area. Contact our clinic to schedule your appointment.