Colposcopy | South Shore Women's and Children's Hospital




Colposcopy is a procedure that is done to visually examine the cervix closely. It involves the use of an instrument called a colposcope to view magnified images of the cervix, vagina, and vulva. During a colposcopy procedure, abnormal areas can be either sampled or completely removed.

The most common indication for a colposcopy is an abnormal Pap smear result. Sometimes a colposcopy is done if your doctor notices an abnormal looking area on the vagina, vulva, or cervix.

The procedure is done under mild anaesthesia. A colposcope is like a pair of binoculars, and with it the doctor takes a careful, detailed, look at the vulva, vagina, and cervix. A special solution is applied, which helps to highlight any area with abnormal cells. If abnormal areas are noted, these can also be removed (either partially or completely, depending on the extent), through a method called Direct Loop Excision (DLE) which involves using a heated loop to take out the affected part(s). Any sample taken is then sent to the laboratory for further testing, to determine what exactly the abnormality is, which will then

A colposcopy is a short procedure that takes about 15 to 20 minutes. After the procedure, you will be able to go about your regular activities once the anaesthetic has worn off. You might experience some pain (soreness) around the vagina for a while, there may also be some vaginal spotting. You will be placed on oral antibiotics and pain relievers for a few days, and you will be advised to avoid intercourse or douching for a few days to allow the cervix to heal.

Once the biopsy results are ready, you will be called to come in to discuss the findings.

If your doctor didn’t take a biopsy sample during your colposcopy, you won’t have any restrictions on your activity once your exam is complete. You may experience some spotting or very light bleeding from your vagina in the next day or two.

What you can expect