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What's this procedure? Colposcopy; health focus Miriam Stoppard.

Byline: Miriam Stoppard

Colposcopy is a simple, non-invasive procedure that can be used as a treatment as well as diagnostic tool.

It requires no anaesthetic and can be done at your gynaecologist's surgery or outpatient clinic.

The colposcope, a kind of microscope, is placed at the entrance of the vagina. The doctor examines the tissues to identify the precise area of the abnormal cells, which a smear test doesn't pinpoint. The speculum tool will then be slowly removed so the vaginal walls can be inspected.

Abnormal cells inside the cervical canal can't be detected with a colposcope. If these are suspected, a cone biopsy - in which a cone of cervical tissue is removed - will usually be recommended.

Areas confirmed as abnormal are treated using a laser or by electrocoagulation, both of which destroy tissue with heat. They can also be treated with cryosurgery, which uses cold to destroy tissue, or removed by diathermy loop excision.

Treatment may be done at the same time as colposcopy if the abnormal area is small. If a woman is pregnant, treatment is usually delayed.
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Title Annotation:Features; Opinion, Column
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 22, 2013
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