When you receive news that your pap smear came back “abnormal,” it can be an unsettling experience. Add to the stress the fact that you will need to undergo a second diagnostic procedure, and the worries can become quite overwhelming. A cervical biopsy is one of the assessment tests that might be recommended after this type of pap smear result. This procedure removes a small sample of tissue that contains the abnormal cells so that they can be assessed under a microscope in a laboratory. The results of this evaluation will determine whether additional treatments are necessary or whether ongoing monitoring of the tissue is all that is needed.

Dr. Silvers has a substantial amount of experience in diagnostic procedures like a cervical biopsy. He and his staff will ensure you feel comfortable and well cared for throughout the process. Some of these procedures can even be performed right in his office, and you will be allowed to go home shortly after your treatment to relax in familiar surroundings as your body recovers. A cervical biopsy is a quick procedure that can offer tremendous peace-of-mind and direction once the results are available.

What You Should Know about a Cervical Biopsy

Cervical biopsies are surgical procedures that involve local anesthesia. The process does involve the excision of cervical tissue, so bleeding and some mild cramping may be expected after your appointment. However, the recovery from a cervical biopsy is relatively quick and comfortable compared to other surgical procedures. The patient can easily drive herself to and from the procedure.

Why do I Need a Cervical Biopsy?

The most common reason Dr. Silvers performs a cervical biopsy is to determine whether cancer is present after an abnormal pap smear. However, this is not the only issue that can be identified through this procedure. Other reasons for having a cervical biopsy might include:

  • Precancerous tissue that could become cancerous over time
  • Noncancerous polyps that have developed on or near the cervix
  • Genital warts that could indicate the presence of HPV, a risk factor for cervical cancer
  • Diethylstilbestrol (DES) exposure if your mother took DES while pregnant with you, could increase your risk for cancer of the reproductive organs

Dr. Silvers will explain his reasons for recommending a cervical biopsy at your initial consultation, so you know why it is being done, what Dr. Silvers hopes to learn and what to expect from the procedure overall.

Types of Cervical Biopsies

Dr. Silvers may perform your biopsy using a variety of techniques, depending on how much tissue needs to be removed:

LEEP/Cone Biopsy

A cone biopsy removes a more significant amount of tissue and may be recommended when precancer or cancer is suspected.

Endocervical Curettage (ECC)

An instrument known as a curette is used to perform this procedure. The curette is a handheld instrument that features a small hook or scoop on one end to remove the tissue from the cervix. It is typically used to scrape the lining of the endocervical canal – an area that cannot be seen from outside the cervix or viewed with the help of a colposcopy.

What to Expect from Your Cervical Biopsy

Your cervical biopsy will be performed using local anesthesia. A speculum is placed to widen the vaginal canal, and a colposcope may also be inserted, which provides both magnification and illumination for a better view of the cervical area. Dr. Silvers may also apply a vinegar solution to the area to make it easier to identify the abnormal tissue. The required amount of tissue will be removed, using one of the techniques described above, and sutures or a topical, medical-grade paste may be used to control the bleeding afterward.

Recovering from Your Cervical Biopsy

Mild spotting or cramping is normal for a few days. You should not use tampons, douche or have intercourse for at least one week after your biopsy to allow the area ample time to heal fully.

When the results of your biopsy arrive, they will likely classify your abnormal tissue one of three ways:

  • Mild dysplasia – the least dangerous type of precancer
  • Moderate dysplasia – indicating more of the tissue was abnormal
  • Severe dysplasia – significant precancerous conditions present

If precancer is identified, Dr. Silvers may take steps to prevent it from becoming cancer. These steps might include more frequent monitoring or other treatments.

If you have had an abnormal pap smear result, a cervical biopsy may be one of the next steps to determine the severity of the abnormality. If you would like to learn more about this diagnostic test, contact Dr. Silver’s office today at 305-535-9600.