Colposcopy is a procedure to find out if there are any abnormal cells in the vagina. The cervix is the part of the womb that sits in the vagina. In some women, the presence of these abnormal cells can increase the risk of developing cervical cancer. A colposcopy is used to determine the treatment required by the patient. During colposcopy a device called a speculum will be inserted into the vagina then very slowly and gently opened to allow the doctor to examine the cervix. A colposcope with a strong light will be used to look at the cervix. The colposcope does not enter the vagina and remains outside the body. If the colposcope has a camera attached to it, you may be able to see images of your cervix on a small screen. The colposcopy procedure usually takes about five minutes, but it can take longer (10 to 15 minutes) if treatment is carried out. The most common treatment is large loop excision of transformation zone (LLETZ). The transformation zone comprises of the area of tissue just at the entrance of the birth canal. LLETZ involves using a heated wire loop to eliminate the abnormal cells, and in most cases it is carried out using a local anesthetic. The procedure lasts a few minutes and can be carried out during a colposcopy. The doctor will be able to tell if there are abnormal cells in the cervix. Biopsy results usually take about four weeks and a copy will be sent to the patient and the doctor.
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