Government of New Brunswick

1) What is a colposcopy?

A colposcopy is done much the same way as a Pap test.

  • A speculum is inserted into the vagina to hold it open so the cervix can be clearly seen and examined.
  • The colposcopy doctor (gynecologist) uses a special instrument called a colposcope. It has a light and magnifying lens (much like binoculars) on the end, which allows the inside surface of the cervix and the vagina to be seen more clearly under high magnification. The colposcope itself isn't inserted – it is positioned outside the opening of the vagina.
  • The area may be swabbed with solutions that help the doctor see the tissues better.
  • Biopsies may be taken from any suspicious areas using forceps or a scoop called a curette.
  • Once the biopsy specimens (when taken) have been examined by the lab, the colposcopy doctor will contact you with the results or an appointment.
  • The colposcopy doctor will return you to your primary health care provider for pap tests when they feel comfortable that your colposcopy examination is complete.

2) Where do I go for colposcopy?

Your health-care provider (doctor or nurse practitioner) will refer you to a specialist (gynecologist) for colposcopy testing. Colposcopies are usually done in an outpatient clinic at one of the regional hospitals closest to your home. The Gynecologist’s office or colposcopy clinic will send instructions to you as to how to prepare for a colposcopy.

3) What happens after a colposcopy?

After colposcopy, the specialist (gynecologist) will talk to you about your results.

  • They will let you know if another colposcopy visit or perhaps a treatment is needed. 
  • The most common treatments used for colposcopy are cryotherapy, laser and leep. All of these treatments remove the abnormal area of cells. Speak to your colposcopy doctor for more information.
  • The doctor will also let you know when you can return to your family doctor for routine cervical screening.