Abnormal pap smears are common and may require taking a closer look with a test called a colposcopy. It is done using a colposcope, which provides an enlarged view of the areas, allowing the provider to visually distinguish normal from abnormal appearing tissue and take directed biopsies for further pathological examination. This can be mildly uncomfortable, and if you are able to take Ibuprofen or Tylenol, you can take this prior to the procedure. The main goal of colposcopy is to prevent cervical cancer by detecting precancerous lesions early and treating them. The results from colposcopy are useful in determining the best way to manage abnormal pap smears.
LEEP (loop electrosurgical excision procedure) is an in office procedure EvergreenHealth OBGYN Tan has to remove the abnormal cervical cells if medically indicated. LEEP uses a thin wire loop electrode which is attached to an electrosurgical generator. The generator transmits an electrical current that quickly cuts away the affected area of the cervical tissue in the immediate area of the loop wire. This causes the abnormal cells to rapidly heat and burst, and separates the tissue as the loop wire moves through the cervix.
This technique allows your physician to send the excised tissue to the pathologist for further evaluation. This insures that the abnormal area was completely removed, as well as allowing for a more accurate assessment of the abnormal cervical cells.