What is a colposcopy?
A colposcopy is performed when a woman has had abnormal pap smears. Pap smears are advised in all woman in New Zealand with the aim of preventing cervical cancer.
How is it the procedure performed?
A speculum is placed in the vagina, and the cervix visualised using a colposcope. This gives the gynaecologist a magnified view of the cervix.
The cervix is then coated with an acetic acid and/or iodine solution to highlight any potential abnormal areas. A targeted biopsy is taken and sent the labaratory for analysis.
Sometimes no further treatment is required. Some woman will require a large loop excision of the transformation zone (LLETZ), which is where the abnormal area of the cervix is removed. This tissue generally measures 5-10mm in size.
A LLETZ is performed as a separate procedure, normally under local anaesthetic, but occasionally under general anaesthetic.