Colposcopy

Colposcopy is a way of looking at the cervix through a special magnifying device called a colposcope. It shines a light into the vagina and onto the cervix. A colposcope can greatly enlarge the normal view. This exam allows an obstetrician–gynecologist (ob-gyn) to find problems that cannot be seen by the eye alone.

Colposcopy is done when results of cervical cancer screening tests show abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix. Colposcopy provides more information about the abnormal cells. Colposcopy also may be used to further assess other problems, including:

  • genital warts on the cervix
  • cervicitis (an inflamed cervix)
  • benign (not cancer) growths, such as polyps pain
  • bleeding

Sometimes colposcopy may need to be done more than once. It also can be used to check the result of a treatment.

During colposcopy, your ob-gyn may see abnormal areas. A biopsy of these areas may be done. During a biopsy, a small piece of tissue is removed from the cervix. The sample is removed with a special device.