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Definition  

The cervix is the lower, narrow part of the uterus (womb). A special magnifying device with a light, called a colposcope, can be used to visually examine the cervix and vagina.

Female Reproductive Organs  
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Reasons for Procedure  

Colposcopy is usually done when a:

This procedure can be used to:

  • Help diagnose cervical cancer or precancerous changes
  • Give more information about abnormal cells found on a pap smear
  • Find the location where a tissue biopsy should be done
  • Monitor treatment of abnormalities of the cervix
  • Allow a visual exam of the cervix, vaginal walls, or vulva
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Possible Complications  

Complications are rare. But, no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have colposcopy, your doctor will review a list of possible complications. These may include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Discomfort
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What to Expect  

Prior to Procedure  

In the 24 hours before the procedure, your doctor may advise you to avoid:

  • Having sexual intercourse
  • Using medicine or creams in your vagina

Anesthesia  

Usually no anesthesia is needed. In certain cases, the cervix may be numbed with a local anesthetic.

Description of the Procedure  

You will lie on your back with your feet in footrests. A device called a speculum will be inserted into your vagina. The speculum will gently spread apart the vaginal walls. The inside of th