A colposcopy is a diagnostic procedure. It is usually performed when abnormal pap smear results or when a Dr. Suspects cervical abnormalities. The procedure is performed with a colposcope, a time of microscope that looks something like a pair of binoculars. The doctor can adjust the magnification range on the lenses of the instrument in order to identify abnormal growth or function of blood vessels on the cervical surface and surrounding area.
Who Benefits from a Colposcopy?
Colposcopy benefits women who may be at risk for cervical cancer. The technology enables early and visual inspection of the cervix and surrounding area in order to identify unusual or abnormal growths, tumors, cysts or blood vessel development that often leads to construction of a tumor. However, the procedure is not recommended for women after menopause, as tissues have changed and specific cellular structures are more difficult to identify, and even with the colposcope.
How is the Colposcopy Procedure Performed?
In most situations, culposcopy aids in a cervical biopsy. During a biopsy, a small piece of tissue is taken from the cervix or surrounding area for laboratory testing. The colposcope enables physicians identify and view the internal structures of the cervix, the uterine cervix, and the vaginal walls for signs of abnormal cell growth or structural defects or growths.
During the procedure, a woman lies down on an examination table, in the same position used for a regular OB/GYN exam or Pap smear. A speculum, an elongated cylindrical-shaped metal or plastic tool that uses a trigger handle to open its two hinged arms, is placed inside the vagina to open in separate the vaginal walls for easier viewing.
The doctor swabs the vaginal walls with a solution that turns any abnormal cellular structure a whitish caller, making them more visible to the naked eye. The colposcope is then used to view the magnifying area of the vagina and cervix from outside the body. Using the colposcope, the doctor may take more precisely located tissue samples for testing in a laboratory.
How Much does a Colposcopy Cost?
Cost for colposcopy depends on where you have the procedure done, and whether the biopsy is taken during the examination. Costs for colposcopy may range from $55.00 to over $500, again depending on geographical location, the type of procedures being performed, and regular doctor office or clinic charges. Individuals traveling to foreign destinations may benefit from lower costs for the same procedure, based on different healthcare delivery systems.
Who Performs a Colposcopy?
Gynecologists and gynecologic surgeons or pediatricians are required to undergo basic medical training in addition to 2 to 4 years of postgraduate training in gynecology obstetrics or gynecology, also known as OB/GYN. Training focuses on immediate and direct patient care. After training and residency, physicians are able to sit for exams for certification.
Members of gynecologic and obstetrical professional and surgical associations and organizations are required to maintain their professional standing, obtain a lifelong learning and self-assessment education, complete cognitive expertise through examinations and licensing and undergo periodic evaluation for performance in practice.
Accredited and certified surgeons should belong to associations or other similar organizations or boards in the surgeon’s country of origin. Always verify the education, training and experience of any surgeon who may perform surgery and make sure they are licensed to practice in the facility of your choice.