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Cervical Biopsy

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Updated October 24, 2006

What is a cervical biopsy?:

A cervical biopsy is a procedure done to remove cervical tissue for examination. It is also called a punch biopsy.

During the procedure:

A cervical biopsy is normally performed during a colposcopy. A colposcopy is a procedure that allows the doctor a more in-depth examination of the cervix. After the doctor has identified any abnormal areas of the cervix, small amounts of tissue are taken with biopsy forceps or needle.

Another type of biopsy called an endocervical curettage (ECC) may be performed. An ECC removes tissue from the endocervical canal, the narrow passageway connecting the cervix to the uterus.

Is a cervical biopsy painful?:

Most women experience little or no discomfort during a cervical biopsy. Many doctors will ask a woman to cough just as the sample is being taken to alleviate any immediate discomfort.

Cramping may be experienced after the procedure.

Preparing for a cervical biopsy:

It is recommended that woman not have sex or douche 24 to 48 hours before a colposcopy/biopsy. These activities can cause inaccurate results.

Cervical biopsy results:

Results from a cervical biopsy normally come back within two weeks. Results will come back as normal or abnormal.

Abnormal results can indicate low grade dysplasia (mild) to high grade dysplasia (moderate to severe)or cervical cancer.

After a cervical biopsy:

Normal bleeding may occur up to a week after a cervical biopsy. Heavy bleeding and discharge, whether foul smelling or not, should be reported to your doctor. A fever should also be reported.

Most doctors recommend no sex or tampons for up to two weeks after a biopsy, depending on the circumstances.

References:

  1. "Cervical Cancer (PDQ®): Treatment." General Information About Cervical Cancer. 19 APR 2006. National Cancer Institute. 22 Oct 2006 <http://www.cancer.gov/cancerinfo/pdq/treatment/cervical/patient/>.
  2. "Pap Test." MAR2006. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 22 Oct 2006 <http://www.4woman.gov/faq/pap.htm#pap15>.
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