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Colposcopy in Charlottesville, VA

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What is a Colposcopy?

A colposcopy is a medical procedure that involves the examination of the cervix or vaginal walls using a colposcope, a specialized magnifying instrument. It is typically performed by a gynecologist or a trained healthcare provider.

During a colposcopy, the colposcope provides a close-up view of the tissues, enabling your provider to identify any abnormalities, such as precancerous or cancerous lesions. If any suspicious areas are found, a biopsy might be taken for further evaluation.

Why is a Colposcopy Done?

A colposcopy can be performed for many reasons, including:

  • To investigate abnormal Pap smear results
  • Screening for cervical, vaginal or vulvar cancer
  • Monitoring known cervical abnormalities
  • Evaluating genital warts or other symptoms
  • Following up on HPV infection

Who Needs a Colposcopy?

A colposcopy might be recommended for individuals who have:

  • Abnormal Pap smear results
  • A history of cervical abnormalities
  • Symptoms like genital warts or unexplained bleeding
  • A positive HPV test result
  • A family history of cervical cancer
  • Previous treatment for cervical dysplasia or cancer

What are the Risks?

A Colposcopy is generally safe and has minimal risks. Potential risks can include mild discomfort during the procedure, and cramping and/or spotting after. While very rare, additional risks include infection, bleeding, and cervical injury or scarring.

What To Expect

If found to be a candidate for a colposcopy, your provider will discuss the procedure with you and answer any questions you might have.

During the procedure, your provider will place a speculum into the vagina to examine the cervix and if needed, will take small tissue samples from any areas that appear abnormal. This can sometimes cause slight discomfort.

After the procedure, you can resume your regular activities aside from vaginal intercourse for 1 week. You might experience mild cramping, spotting, or dark discharge, but this is normal and will subside within a day or two after the procedure. Your provider will notify you once they receive the biopsy results and discuss any next steps.

Why Choose The Center For Advanced Gynecology

The Center for Advanced Gynecology, established in 2018, is dedicated to improving your health by offering expertise in various areas, with a specific focus on gynecological care and advanced surgical techniques when surgery is needed.

Our team provides specialized expertise in non-surgical treatment of chronic pelvic pain, painful intercourse, pudendal neuralgia, and vaginal, vulvar, and bladder pain.

Since opening our doors, we have recognized the need in our community for more than just specialty care and have a growing practice in routine gynecologic care, cancer screening, Pap smears, menopausal management, hormonal imbalances, hormone replacement therapy, breast care, contraceptive care, urinary incontinence, and pelvic organ prolapse.

Frequently Asked Questions

An abnormal Pap test result could indicate the presence of abnormal cells on the cervix. A colposcopy is done to further examine these abnormal cells and their tissue structure to determine if the cells are precancerous.

During a colposcopy procedure, your provider uses a colposcope to magnify and examine the cervix and surrounding areas. If abnormal tissues are identified, a cervical biopsy is taken for further evaluation.

A colposcopy is generally not considered painful, but some people do experience mild cramping or discomfort during the procedure. You might also feel a brief pinch if a biopsy is taken.

A colposcopy can reveal abnormal tissues, abnormal blood vessels, or precancerous cells on the cervix. It helps in assessing whether further treatment or monitoring is needed.

A colposcopy appointment usually takes around 15 to 30 minutes. However, this will vary based on the complexity of the findings and whether a biopsy is performed.

A cervical biopsy (3 mm size) is taken during a colposcopy to obtain a sample of tissue from the cervix. This tissue sample is sent to a laboratory for analysis to determine if there are any abnormal cells or signs of precancerous cells.

You should avoid using vaginal medications or creams for at least 24 hours before a colposcopy to ensure accurate results unless told differently by your provider. Your provider will provide you with detailed instructions on any medications you should avoid before the procedure.

No, a colposcopy is a diagnostic procedure performed after an abnormal Pap test result. A cervical screening (Pap test) is a preventive measure to detect cervical cancer in its early stages.

No, a colposcopy specifically focuses on examining the cervix or vaginal walls using a colposcope. A pelvic exam is a routine physical examination of the pelvic organs and might not involve the use of a colposcope.

If more than one biopsy is taken, it could be because your provider has identified multiple abnormal tissue sites or areas of concern. Each biopsy site will be carefully examined to assess the extent of abnormality, and tissue samples will be sent to the laboratory for analysis. The results will help determine the appropriate next steps.

After a colposcopy, you can typically resume your regular activities. It’s normal to experience mild cramping, spotting, or dark discharge, but this should subside within a day or two. Follow-up instructions and results will be provided by your provider.