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Cervical Procedures Specialist

Femme Next Generation Women's Care

OBGYNs & Urgent Care located in Thousand Oaks, CA

Cervical Procedures Q & A

What is a cervical biopsy?

The cervix is a muscular structure that sits at the lower, narrow portion of the uterus. It forms a canal that opens into the vagina. A cervical biopsy is a procedure to remove tissue from the cervix to test for abnormal or precancerous conditions, or cervical cancer.

What types of cervical biopsies are there?

Punch biopsy:

This procedure uses a circular blade attached to the end of a small pen-like device. It will remove a sample piece of cervical tissue. One or more punch biopsies may be done on different areas of the cervix.

Cone biopsy:

This procedure uses a laser or scalpel to remove a large cone-shaped piece of tissue from the cervix.

Endocervical curettage (ECC):

This procedure uses a narrow instrument called a curette to scrape the lining of the endocervical canal. This is an area that can’t be seen from the outside of the cervix.

Why might I need a cervical biopsy?

Cervical biopsies may be recommended by your healthcare provider when abnormalities are found during a pelvic exam, if abnormal cells are found during a Pap smear, or with a positive test for human papillomavirus (HPV) may also call for cervical biopsy. Cervical biopsies may be performed to find precancerous or cancerous cells on the cervix, however cervical biopsies are also recommended to diagnose non-cancerous conditions such as:

  • Noncancerous growth (polyps) on the cervix
  • Genital warts. These may mean that you have an infection with HPV. HPV is a risk factor for cervical cancer.
  • Diethylstilbestrol (DES) exposure if your mother took DES during pregnancy. DES raises the risk for cancer of the reproductive system.

How are cervical biopsies performed?

A cervical biopsy is often done as part of a colposcopy or Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP).

What is Colposcopy?

Colposcopy is a procedure to closely examine your cervix, vagina and vulva with a special magnifying
device called a colposcope. It shines a light into the vagina and onto the cervix and magnifies images to
allow the healthcare provider to find problems that cannot be seen by the eye alone.

Colposcopy can be used to diagnose:

  • Genital warts
  • Inflammation of the cervix (cervicitis)
  • Precancerous changes in the tissue of the cervix
  • Precancerous changes in the tissue of the vagina
  • Precancerous changes of the vulva

What is a loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP)?

Loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) uses a wire loop heated by electric current to remove cells and tissue in a woman’s lower genital tract. It is used as part of the diagnosis and treatment for abnormal or cancerous conditions. With LEEP, an electric current passes through the fine wire loop to cut away a thin layer of abnormal tissue. This tissue will be sent to the lab for testing. LEEP can also remove abnormal cells to allow healthy tissue to grow.

LEEP may also be used to assist in the diagnosis or treatment of the following conditions:

  • Polyps (benign growths)
  • Genital warts
  • Diethylstilbestrol (DES) exposure in women whose mothers took DES during pregnancy

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