Colposcopy Procedure – Cervical Cryosurgery – LEEP Procedure – D & C

There are several procedures that help doctors identify, collect, and treat abnormal tissue. These include colposcopy, cryosurgery, LEEP (loop electrosurgical excision procedure), and D and C (dilation and curettage.
Abnormal Pap tests are not necessarily caused by cancer, but are often the result of infections or cell changes related to menopause If a Pap test is abormal, often a colposcopy is the next step.
Your doctor performs a colposcopy to get a closer look at your vulva, vagina, and/or cervix. This may be done if your routine Pap test comes back with an abnormal result. If more abnormal tissue is found during the colposcopy, your doctor will probably take a small sample of your tissue at that time to try to determine the cause (such as cancer).
A colposcope looks like a pair of binoculars and works by lighting and magnifying your internal organs to make them easier for your doctor to see. Often vinegar or iodine are used to help make abnormal areas show up better.
More details on colposcopy can be found at 
Cryosurgery is used to kill abnormal cells by freezing them. It is a way to treat precancerous cervical cells.
Your doctor uses a device called a cryoprobe which has liquid nitrogen or argon gas circulating inside of it. Then with some type of medical imaging, such as ultrasound, to see where the probe is, and avoid damaging healthy cells. The frozen tissues end up being reabsorbed by your body.
Cryosurgery is a minimally invasive cancer treatment, and overall requires a shorter recovery time than other types of treatment. The treatment can be repeated if necessary. However, it may cause cramping, bleeding, or pain in women, and its long term effectiveness is not yet certain.
  • More information can be found at
LEEP stands for loop electrosurgical excision procedure. It is another way to collect and treat abnormal cervical cells found in a Pap test. A thin wire loop electrode transmits an electrical current that cuts away tissue, by heating some of the abnormal cells and destroying them quickly. Your doctor can then send the collected tissue to be tested, in order to find out whether the cells are cancerous or precancerous (cervical dysplasia).
The procedure usually takes less than a half hour, and can be done in your doctor's office.   It will seem similar to a Pap test. Your doctor will use a colposcope to find the abnormal cells to be removed. Vinegar and iodine are used to highlight the abnormal cells. Your doctor will then put a local anesthetic on your cervix for the procedure, and will use another electrode to stop any bleeding. The procedure is generally painless.
You may experience some mild pain or discomfort. You will need to rest for awhile after the procedure, and avoid infection. Your doctor will tell you how long you need to wait before:
  • Using a tampon or douche
  • Lifting heavy objects
  • Having sexual intercourse
  • Taking a tub bath
More can be found at


D and C stands for dilation and curettage - opening the cervix and inserting an instrument called a curette to scrape tissue from the inside of the uterus. It is performed in your doctor's office or a hospital, and requires anesthesia. It usually takes less than a half hour.
The procedure may be done in preparation for endometrial ablation, or to clear the uterus after a miscarriage or abortion. A D and C may also be used to sample tissue from the endometrium (lining of the uterus) to diagnose conditions such as menstrual pain or abnormal bleeding, or to treat other conditions such as polyps or fibroid tumors.
You may feel some lingering effects of anesthesia, such as nausea, vomiting, or sore throat. You may also have cramping and spotting for a few days. To prevent infection, your doctor will tell you how long you need to wait before:
  • Using a tampon or douche
  • Lifting heavy objects
  • Having sexual intercourse
  • Taking a tub bath
More details on D and C can be found at
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