Abnormal Pap Smears:
It can be frightening news if you are told your pap smear was “abnormal”. But as long as you receive prompt treatment, there is no need for worry. Every year, more than 3 million women have abnormal or unclear pap smear results – but less than .33 percent ever develop cervical cancer.
The cervix is the narrow passage at the lower end of the uterus. Annual pap smears test the cells here to look for any changes. When abnormal cervical cells are found, it is called “cervical dysplasia”.
Depending on the severity of cervical dysplasia that is found, your gynecologist may require a follow-up pap smear – or she may order a colposcopy (cervical exam) with a biopsy (test for cancerous or precancerous cells).
If precancerous cells are found to have built up on the cervix surface, your gynecologist has two treatment options: conization, or LEEP. Both are discussed in more detail below.
Conization removes a cone-shape section of tissue from high up in the cervix to be biopsied, to make sure no cancer is present. LEEP uses a mild electrical current to remove abnormal tissue that has been previously identified by colposcopy.
The good news is that with prompt treatment, and regular pap smears, cervical dysplasia very rarely develops into cancer. However, when cervical dysplasia goes untreated, it can lead to cervical cancer.
For this reason it is important to see one of our caring gynecologists right away if you ever experience an abnormal pap test. We offer state-of-the-art technologies combined with compassionate care, to ensure your cervical dysplasia treatment is effective and that you are comfortable and at ease throughout your treatment.
If you have received abnormal pap smear results, CLICK HERE to schedule a cervical dysplasia consultation with one of our caring gynecologists.
Conization for Cervical Dysplasia
Conization – also called cone biopsy – is a specialized surgical treatment that identifies and removes abnormal tissue from the cervix in cases of cervical dysplasia (abnormal pap results).
Conization is intensified type of biopsy of the cervix in which the gynecologic surgeon removes a large cone-shape section of the abnormal cervical tissue, as well as a small amount of normal tissue in the cervix. Once the cervical cells are removed, the tissue is sent to a pathology lab to look for cancerous cells.
There are several anesthetic options to ensure the patient’s comfort during conization. It can be performed under local anesthetic to numb the entire genital area, or general anesthetic may be used to “put the patient to sleep”.
In other cases an epidural, (like that used in childbirth) may be offered to numb the woman entirely from the waist down during conization.
LEEP for Cervical Dysplasia
LEEP – short for “loop electrosurgical excision procedure” – is a state-of-the-art treatments that can identify and remove abnormal tissue from the cervix in women suffering from cervical dysplasia.
The LEEP method uses a low-voltage wire loop that is inserted through the vagina to remove abnormal cells from the cervix walls. LEEP removes fewer cells than conization, so it is generally less expensive, more comfortable and easier to perform than the conization.
During LEEP the gynecologist numbs the cervix with local anesthesia, and there is no need to “knock out” the patient with general anesthesia.
Following the LEEP or conization procedure, the removed cervical tissue is sent to a pathology lab for testing to identify the abnormal cells, so the gynecologist can develop the best treatment plan.
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