A DETAILED EXAMINATION OF THE CERVIX (THE NECK OF THE WOMB)
A colposcopy is a procedure to examine the cervix with a microscope and identify any abnormal cells.
If you've had an abnormal smear test, your consultant will probably recommend a colposcopy. This involves using a bright light and a microscope to look at your cervix and closely examine any unusual or potentially pre-cancerous cells. Your consultant may also take a biopsy to confirm any diagnosis.
During the procedure, you'll lie back in a chair with padded supports for your legs. Just like during a smear test, a device called a speculum will be inserted into your vagina and opened gently. This allows your consultant to examine the cells of your cervix using a special microscope called a colposcope. A biopsy (a small sample of tissue) may be taken to diagnose any potential problems. The entire procedure usually takes between 10 and 20 minutes.
The procedure itself won't take much longer than a normal smear test, and you'll be able to go home right after your appointment. If you've had a biopsy or excision, you may have a small amount of bleeding or discharge. You may want to wear a pantyliner for a day or two after your appointment. Your consultant will follow up with any results. If a biopsy confirms that you need treatment, you'll be invited back for a large loop excision (LLETZ) to remove the abnormal cells. Your consultant will let you know what to expect.