A cervical biopsy is one of the diagnostic procedures through which a sample of a woman’s cervical tissue is taken and examined under a microscope. A cervical biopsy is often used if a Pap Smear test shows an abnormal result or if a woman is more at risk of developing cervical cancer. For this procedure, a scalpel or laser is used to remove large pieces of conical tissue from the cervix under general anesthesia.
Types of cervical biopsies
- Punch biopsy. This procedure uses a circular blade, like a paper hole puncher, to remove a tissue sample. One or more punch biopsies may be done on different areas of the cervix.
- Cone biopsy. This procedure uses a laser or scalpel to remove a large cone-shaped piece of tissue from the cervix.
- Endocervical curettage (ECC). This procedure uses a narrow instrument called a curette to scrape the lining of the endocervical canal. This is an area that can’t be seen from the outside of the cervix.
Risks of Cervical Biopsy
Possible complications of cervical biopsy may include:
Additionally, cone biopsies may increase the risk of infertility and miscarriage. This is due to changes and scarring in the cervix that may occur from the procedure.
Tell your doctor if:
- You are allergic or sensitive to medication, iodine, or latex.
- You are pregnant or think you are pregnant. Some types of cervical biopsies can be performed during pregnancy, but others cannot
Factors that can decrease the accuracy of cervical biopsy include the following:
- Acute pelvic inflammatory disease
- Acute inflammation of the cervix
What To Expect During This Procedure?
The appointment will start as a regular pelvic exam. You will lie at the exam table and your feet are in passengers. Then your doctor will give you a local anesthetic to numb the area. If you undergo a cone biopsy, you will be given a general anesthetic that will make you sleep.
Your doctor will then insert a speculum into the vagina to keep the canal open during the procedure. The cervix is first washed with a special solution. The cleansing process may cause a burning sensation, but it should not be painful. The cervix may also be swabbed with iodine. This is called a Schiller’s test and is used to help your doctor detect any abnormal tissues.
The doctor will remove the abnormal tissue with forceps, scalpel, or curette. You may feel a slight sense of pinching if the tissue is removed with forceps. After the biopsy is completed, your doctor may pack the cervix with an absorbent material to reduce the amount of bleeding you may; however, this is not required in every biopsy.
After the procedure, let your doctor know if you have any of the following symptoms as they can be signs of an infection:
- Heavy bleeding
- Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
- Fever and pain