If cervical abnormalities are found during your pelvic examination, if abnormal cells are found during your Pap test or if you have tested positive for human papillomavirus (HPV), your gynecologist may recommend a cervical biopsy to remove tissue from the cervix in order to test for abnormal or precancerous conditions, or cervical cancer. While this may bring concern and anxiety, it's important to remember that these screening exams are critical for early detection of disease and the earlier a disease is detected, the higher the rate of success with the appropriate treatment.
Types of Cervical Biopsies
There are several types of cervical biopsies we perform at Jefferson. In addition to removing tissue for testing, some of these procedures may be used to completely remove areas of abnormal tissue and may also be used for treatment of precancerous lesions. There are different types of biopsies, including:
Punch biopsies are performed to remove a small piece of tissue from the cervix. One or more punch biopsies may be performed on different areas of the cervix.
Cone Biopsy (conization)
This is a surgical procedure that uses a laser or scalpel to remove a large cone-shaped piece of tissue from the cervix. This can be used to treat early cancer and other problems. Cone biopsy may be performed so that you can still become pregnant.
Endocervical Curettage (ECC)
This procedure involves a narrow instrument called a curette, which is used to scrape the lining of the endocervical canal, an area that cannot be seen from the outside of the cervix.