Abnormal Pap Smears & Colposcopy

Abnormal Pap Smears & Colposcopy services offered in Lake Forest and Grayslake, IL

After an abnormal Pap smear, you may need a procedure called colposcopy to make an accurate diagnosis and protect your health. At Women’s Specialty Care SC, with offices in Grayslake and Lake Forest, Illinois, the team led by Karen Mass, MD, FACOG, and Leslie Rubeck, CNM, involves patients in all medical decisions. When they recommend a colposcopy or another procedure, the team takes the time to explain the options and recommendations in an understandable way. Book your appointment online or call the office to schedule an exam today.

Abnormal Pap Smears & Colposcopy Q & A

What is a colposcopy?

A colposcopy is a minimally invasive procedure that usually follows an abnormal Pap smear. Although an abnormal Pap smear is rarely an automatic sign of cervical cancer, it does indicate that you have an atypical change in the cells of your cervix. Those cells might lead to cancer one day.

A colposcopy allows your Women's Specialty Care SC provider to more closely examine the areas that showed up as atypical on the Pap smear so they can determine exactly what the changes in your cervix mean.


How does a colposcopy work?

In a colposcopy, your provider moves a tool (a speculum) into your vagina. This keeps the vagina walls open, allowing a clear view of your cervix. They use a colposcope, a magnifying tool, to view the cervix up close. 

Your provider swabs your vagina and cervix to remove mucus and improve visibility. They may also apply an iodine solution to your cervix, which helps to highlight abnormal areas. 

If they detect abnormal tissue, your provider usually removes a small section of tissue for lab testing (biopsy.) 


How do I prepare for a colposcopy?

Your Women’s Specialty Care SC provider gives you specific guidelines prior to your scheduled colposcopy. This usually includes:

  • Scheduling the procedure when you’re not on your period
  • Avoiding vaginal intercourse before the procedure
  • No tampons before the procedure
  • No vaginal medications before the colposcopy

Your provider may also recommend taking an over-the-counter pain reliever prior to your appointment. 


What happens after a colposcopy?

After a colposcopy, you can return home right away. It usually takes a week or two to get biopsy results. If your colposcopy biopsy results indicate abnormal tissue in your cervix, your Women’s Specialty Care SC provider may recommend a loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP.) 

During LEEP, your provider uses a slim wire loop with an internal electrical current to remove the abnormal tissue. This procedure is a safe and reliable way to eliminate unhealthy tissue and protect against cervical cancer. 

Another option for the removal of abnormal tissue is cryotherapy, which freezes the abnormal tissue to destroy it.

If you need to have LEEP or cryotherapy because the abnormal tissue keeps growing back, your provider might recommend hospital surgery for a more permanent solution like hysterectomy (uterus removal.)

Women’s Specialty Care SC treats you as a team member when making decisions about your health. They use the latest guidelines from the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology (ASCCP) to recommend the ideal treatment solutions for you.

Schedule your appointment by calling Women’s Specialty Care SC or clicking the online scheduling tool now.