After an abnormal Pap smear in our Chicago office
Routine gynecological care is designed to protect reproductive health through the early detection of problems such as cervical or ovarian cancer. One of the diagnostic tests performed during well-woman visits is the Pap smear. This test takes a small sampling of cells from the cervix for microscopic examination. In the medical laboratory, the presence of potentially abnormal cells can be identified.
Normal, or negative results from your Pap smear mean that no treatment or further testing is needed until your next pelvic exam with your Northwestern gynecologist.
Abnormal Pap smear results
When a patient of our Chicago women’s health practice returns a positive result from Pap smear testing, this indicates that some of the cells examined look suspicious. Abnormal Pap smear results do not mean that cervical cancer has developed. What they do mean is that further evaluation is necessary to assess and treat the type of cells discovered during testing. We are looking for dysplastic cells that could become a problem in the future if not treated.
There are several classifications for abnormal cells discovered in the Pap smear. If the Pap smear results are abnormal, your doctor will thoroughly explain what this means based on your individual results. Details of additional testing will also be discussed.
Depending on the specifics, your Chicago gynecologist may want to schedule further evaluation with the colposcopy procedure. Colposcopy allows us to achieve an accurate view of the cervix under bright light and microscopic instrumentation. To facilitate a clear view, a solution is applied to the cervix at the onset of the procedure in our office.
The colposcopy is somewhat similar to the Pap smear in terms of positioning and viewing. The difference is that a small amount of tissue is removed. These biopsies are done quickly and are minimally uncomfortable. To reduce cramping or other discomfort, over the counter pain medication such as Motrin or Advil may be taken before the procedure.
Biopsies with colposcopy take only about twenty minutes and allows us to test abnormal cells in the cervical area. The team at Northwestern Women’s Health Associates has years of experience assessing Pap smear results, performing colposcopy biopsies, and planning treatment as needed for abnormal cells. Treatment options could include observation with more frequent pap smears, LEEP conization or cryotherapy of the cervix.
Maintaining regular well-woman visits with your gynecologist is the best way to achieve the earliest possible detection of gynecological problems. Contact the office of your Northwestern gynecologist today. We are happy to schedule your convenient appointment time.