A simple, 10 - 15 minute female OBGYN procedure that is performed at your OBGYN office. You are positioned on the examination table like you are for a pap smear. After the woman Nurse Practitioner in preps you for the procedure, your physician then uses a colposcope - a large microscope, positioned in front of the vagina - to view your cervix. A bright light on the end of the colposcope lets your gynecologist see the cervix clearly. While doing the colposcopy, the female OBGYN focuses on the areas of the cervix. Changes in an abnormal cervix are seen as white areas; the whiter the area is, the worse the cervical dysplasia. Abnormal vascular (blood vessel) changes are also apparent through the colposcope.
Typically, the worse that the vascular changes are, the worse the dysplasia. If your OBGYN doctor can see an abnormal area with the colposcope, a tissue biopsy is then taken from the abnormal area and sent to the lab for more testing. Note: your female OBGYN may do more than just one biopsy. The number of biopsies depends on how many abnormal areas he/she finds. Once the biopsies are done, the doctor will then do an ECC, also known as an endocervical curettage, that takes samples from the canal of the cervix. After the procedure, the doctor will recommend no sex, tampons or douching for two weeks or until you come back for the test results. This is so your cervix heals from the biopsies. At your next appointment, your doctor will have you come back to the office to go over the results and determine the next best step to take.