The PAP smear is the test your doctor uses to detect any changes that occur in the cells of your cervix. If your PAP smear shows changes to your cervix, the test result will be called abnormal. In some cases, these abnormal cells may be precancerous and may lead to cancer. The key to treating cervical changes is finding them early. The best way to find problems early is to have regular pelvic exams and regular PAP tests.
A PAP test result that is not normal is usually caused by an infection such as human papillomavirus (HPV) or by types of vaginal irritation. Abnormal results may also be caused by a change in cervical cells called squamous intraepithelial lesion (SIL) or cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN). Both SIL and CIN are referred to as dysplasia, or abnormal development of body tissue, and are graded according to their severity.
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SIL is found in women of all ages and can range from mild, moderate, and severe to carcinoma in situ (CIS). CIS is not yet cancer, but if not treated it may progress to cancer. Your risk for SIL increases when:
- You are HIV positive
- You have a weakened immune system
- You have a history of dysplasia or certain cancers
- Your mother took diethylstilbestrol (DES) while she was pregnant with you
If you have an abnormal PAP test result, you will need additional testing to determine the cause. Sometimes, you may only need a repeat PAP test because many cervical cell changes go away on their own. Other times, your doctor may recommend a colposcopy or a biopsy to help identify the reason for the abnormal test result and to determine if treatment is necessary.
A colposcopy lets your doctor look at the cervix through a special device similar to a microscope that can detect problems of the cervix that cannot be seen with the eye alone. In this procedure, a speculum like the one used during a PAP test is placed in the vagina. The colposcope remains outside the vagina but is used to see the cervix. The cervix is painted with a mild vinegar solution that makes abnormal cells on the cervix easier to see.
If abnormal cells are seen during your colposcopy, your doctor may decide that a cervical biopsy is needed. For a biopsy, the doctor removes a small sample of cervical tissue and sends it to a lab to be studied. You may have a pinching or cramping feeling when the tissue is removed.
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Treatment for Abnormal Pap Smear
The treatment recommended by your doctor depends on the severity of the problem. For instance, low-grade SIL cell changes may not need to be treated; you may just need to have a repeat PAP test. High-grade SIL cell changes, on the other hand, have an increased risk of progressing to cancer and may need to be treated with surgery. Although problems seldom occur after treatment for cervical changes, there are some risks. Be sure to talk with your doctor about the risks of your procedure.
Electrosurgical excision is often used if high-grade SIL cell changes are detected. During this procedure, a thin wire loop that carries an electric current is used to remove abnormal areas of the cervix. This electric energy also is used to close off the blood vessels on the surface of the cervix. This lowers the risk of bleeding after the procedure. Electrosurgical excision is often performed in the doctor’s office. Because there is minor discomfort, a local anesthetic is given.
A cone biopsy is also used to obtain a tissue sample from your cervix. In this procedure, a cone-shaped wedge of the cervix is removed. The procedure is usually done in a hospital or outpatient surgery clinic. General or spinal anesthesia is used and you should be able to go home the same day.
Abnormal Pap Follow-Ups (LEEP, Colposcopy) Cost
The cost for Abnormal Pap Follow-Ups (LEEP, Colposcopy) will depend on several factors. The number of sessions will influence the final price, as will the severity of the medical issues being addressed.
Schedule an Abnormal Pap Follow-Ups (LEEP, Colposcopy) Consultation
Contact us right away to find out which type of Abnormal Pap Follow-Ups (LEEP, Colposcopy) in Holly Springs, NC is right for you. Every woman is unique, so this is a very personal decision, and the experienced doctors at North Carolina OB/GYN and Midwifery are here to assist you in determining the best treatment strategy for you.
- Annual Gynecological Exams (pap smear, pelvic and breast exams)
- Birth Control Counseling
- Breast Health Exams
- Endometrial Ablation for Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
- Hysterectomies through Robotic Surgery
- In-Office Hysteroscopy to Diagnose Intrauterine Issues
- In-Office Polypectomy
- Menopause Care
- Osteoporosis Prevention and Bone Health
- Pregnancy Testing
- STD Screenings
- Vaginal/Urinary Tract Infection Checks
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