Mr Chattopadhyay qualified as an accredited colposcopist from The British Society of Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology (BSCCP) in 2012. He has been performing colposcopy for past 5 years.
What is colposcopy?
A colposcopy is a simple procedure used to look at the cervix, the lower part of the womb at the top of the vagina. It’s often done if cervical screening finds abnormal cells in your cervix. These cells aren’t harmful and often go away on their own, but sometimes there’s a risk they could eventually turn into cervical cancer if not treated. A colposcopy can confirm whether cells in your cervix are abnormal and determine whether you need treatment to remove them.
When is a colposcopy needed?
You may be referred for a colposcopy within a few weeks of cervical screening when:
- some of the cells in your screening sample are abnormal
- the nurse or doctor who carried out the screening test thought your cervix didn’t look as healthy as it should
- it wasn’t possible to give you a clear result after several screening tests
- small punch biopsy from the vaginal or the cervical surface
- treatment to remove abnormal cells from the cervix
- removal of cervical polyp
- ablation of vaginal precancerous changes (requires general anaesthetic)
A colposcopy can also be used to find out the cause of problems such as unusual vaginal bleeding (for example, bleeding after sex).
Try not to worry if you’ve been referred for a colposcopy. It’s very unlikely you have cancer and any abnormal cells won’t get worse while you’re waiting for your appointment.
What happens during a colposcopy?
A colposcopy is usually carried out in a hospital clinic. It takes about 15-20 minutes and you can go home the same day.
During the procedure:
- you undress from the waist down (a loose skirt may not need to be removed) and lie down in a special type of chair with padded supports for your legs
- a device called a speculum is inserted into your vagina and gently opened
- a microscope with a light is used to look at your cervix – this doesn’t touch or enter your body
- special liquids (acetic acid and/or Lugol’s iodine) are applied to your cervix to highlight any abnormal areas
- a small sample of tissue (a biopsy) may be removed for closer examination in a laboratory – this may be a bit uncomfortable
If it’s obvious that you have abnormal cells in your cervix, you may have treatment to remove the cells immediately. If this isn’t clear, you’ll need to wait until you get your biopsy results.