Colposcopy is an examination of the cervix (the lower part of the uterus) and the walls of the vagina using a special instrument called a colposcope. The colposcope magnifies the view of the tissue lining the cervix and vagina, enabling the OB/GYN specialist to look for abnormal areas that can't be detected by the eye alone. If the doctor sees abnormal tissue, a small piece is removed, known as a biopsy, and sent to the lab for review.
The test is performed like a Pap test in the doctor's office. No anesthesia or pain medication is required.
Colposcopy is recommended for women who have abnormal Pap smear results, to provide more information about the changes in the cells of the cervix and to determine if they are cancerous or pre-cancerous. Colposcopy may also be used for women with genital warts, cervicitis (inflamed cervix), polyps, pain, and bleeding.