If you've had an abnormal Pap test, you may find yourself worried about what it means and whether or not you're facing a cancer diagnosis. Randall J. Burt, MD, offers women in Plano, Texas, further screening with the colposcopy procedure. This minimally-invasive procedure is performed in the office, so you can get fast results as you determine your next steps, if necessary.
A colposcopy is a close examination of the cervix, vagina, or vaginal opening using a specially designed microscope called a colposcope. The colposcope provides Dr. Burt with a magnified view of the structures and the cells, allowing him to remove any abnormal cells for a biopsy or other testing.
The colposcopy is ordered when a Pap test result comes back with abnormal cells. The colposcopy allows Dr. Burt to take a closer look at these to make a diagnosis.
The colposcopy is a safe, minimally invasive test. There is a minor risk of:
Such complications are extremely rare. However, women who experience these should call Dr. Burt right away.
A colposcopy is similar to a Pap smear. First, you put on a gown and lay on an examination table with your feet in the stirrups. Dr. Burt uses the speculum to open the vaginal opening to make the cervix visible. Then, he positions the colposcope at the opening of the vagina, but it won't enter the vagina. He then applies a solution to the cervix to help identify the abnormal cells. If he sees any, he’ll use a topical anesthetic to numb the area, then take a small amount of the cells. The entire procedure takes 30 minutes or less. Some women experience mild bleeding and will wear a sanitary napkin until the bleeding stops.
After a colposcopy, Dr. Burt advises you avoid putting anything into the vagina or having sexual intercourse for about a week. When your results are ready, he'll set up a follow-up appointment to discuss the results.
A colposcopy is a form of early detection for the cells that can turn into cancer, and early detection helps allow for proper, effective treatment.