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Home  > Genital Warts > Colposcopy and biopsy

Colposcopy and biopsy

Colposcopy is a procedure used as a diagnostic tool, not a screening tool. A scope and light are used to visualize the cervix under magnification using acetic acid 3% to highlight cervical lesions while one or more biopsies are taken from the surface of the cervix in the suspicious areas. If nothing looks suspicious, then biopsies are taken blindly randomly). A biopsy refers to cutting away a piece of tissue with a surgical knife, usually the standard Kevorkian biopsy forceps. This is standard for women having a Pap smear that indicates any grade of dysplasia and for women with repetitive Pap smears showing atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance (ASCUS).

In comparison to the value of a Pap smear, a colposcopy allows a close look and random or directed needle-type biopsies which are particularly helpful if a lesion can be seen visually. So, a colposcopy is better at grading visible dysplasia. However, a Pap smear is better for screening in cases of mild dysplasia in which no lesion is visible.

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Cervical Dysplasia
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Dr. Joe Glickman, Jr., M.D.

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