Pap Tests

A Pap Smear or Pap Test is a cervical cytology screening that looks for any unusual changes in the cervix cells. Early detection for these changes makes it possible to receive early treatment which increases the success rate in preventing the abnormal cells from becoming cancer.

An HPV (human papillomavirus) infection is the main cause of abnormal Pap test results. There are several forms of HPV, some with connections to cancer of the cervix, vulva, and vagina – and others  being linked to genital warts.

If you receive abnormal Pap test results, further testing may be required. The types of follow-up tests you will receive after abnormal Pap test is determined by the specifics of your results and your age. Many times there are multiple options for further testing. Some of the follow up tests may include a colposcopy, endocervical sampling, or endometrial sampling. A colposcopy allows your doctor to examine the cervix with magnifying instrument. The more detailed information from the colposcopy can detect any potential problems that would otherwise go unseen.  Edocervical sampling is a test in which a tissue sample is taken from the cervical canal using a small brush or other instrument. We are happy to discuss in detail each of the options to determine which ones will be best for you.

There are also many techniques and procedures used for treating the abnormal cells. Your treatment will depend on your age and test results. Some of the treatment procedures include:

LEEP - (Loop electrosurgical excision procedure) is a technique where an electric current is carried through a thin wire loop used to remove the abnormal areas of the cervix. This procedure is done under local anesthesia, usually performed at the doctor’s office. The removed areas are sent to a lab for analysis.

Cone Biopsy - This procedure can take place in an operating room under general anesthesia or under other types of anesthesia in a surgical center. It involves removing a cone shaped wedge from the cervix that will be studied in a lab. You should be able to go home the same day.

Cryotherapy - most commonly called freezing, is a technique that freezes the abnormal tissue which will later shed.

Laser treatment - Laser treatment uses a laser beam to eradicate the abnormal tissue.

Follow up testing will also be required, which could possibly consist of repeat Pap smears in six months and twelve months and possibly an HPV test. Regular Pap tests are highly recommended after the follow-up visit is completed.