Colposcopy & LLETZ procedure
Referred to a specialist:
Your screening results indicate you have a type of HPV infection that requires further investigation from a specialist or the test has indicated that you have abnormalities that require treatment.
This does not mean you have developed cancer. It takes about 10 to 15 years for cervical cancer to develop after an HPV infection and cervical cancer is a rare outcome.
You will be referred to a specialist for a follow-up test, known as a colposcopy test.
It is very important you follow the instructions of your healthcare provider if you received this test result
A colposcopy is a detailed examination of the cervix and vagina using a magnification camera (colposcope).
Acetic acid solution is applied to the cervix to help identify abnormal changes in the cervix. A biopsy of the cervix may be taken to confirm the diagnosis of the abnormal cervical cells.
How is a colposcopy test done?
When you arrive for the appointment, it is fine to ask as many questions about the test as you like. Ask the specialist to explain what they are doing throughout the examination if that will help you.
To have a colposcopy test, you will be asked to lie on an examination bed with your legs supported, in a similar position to when you have a Cervical Screening Test. Like the Cervical Screening Test, then a speculum is inserted into your vagina. Acetic Acid solution a special liquid onto your cervix to highlight any abnormal areas.
Looking through the colposcope your cervix are then examined. The colposcope itself does not enter the body.
This examination usually takes 10 – 15 minutes and most people do not experience any pain. However, you may have some discomfort from having the speculum inside your vagina.
What is a Biopsy?
If areas of your cervix appear abnormal during the colposcopy, a small sample of tissue (a biopsy) may be taken from any abnormal looking areas of the cervix. This sample will be sent to a laboratory for testing.
It may take up to two weeks for the results of your biopsy to come back . A follow up appointment is made to 2 weeks following Colposcopy for biopsy results if a biopsy is taken.
Avoid rigorous exercise for 24 hours after a biopsy and it is best to avoid sexual intercourse for one to two days. You can shower, however avoid swimming, bathing and spas for one to two days.
These precautions reduce your risk of bleeding and/or infection. You may have some discharge and ‘spotting’ for a few hours afterwards, so it is a good idea to take a thin sanitary pad or panty liner to the appointment.
Treatments for High Grade Dysplasia (Pre Cancerous cells) of Cerix
Treatment is recommended if high grade dysplasia (CIN 2-3) is confirmed on biopsy of cervix to avoid further progression to cancer. Options are laser ablation of the cervix or LLETZ (large loop excision of transformation zone).
In LLETZ, a thin loop of wire that carries electrical current is used like a scalpel to cut the transformation zone of the cervix (where abnormal cells exist)
How is Laser ablation of cervix or Lletz performed?
Laser ablation of cervix and LLETZ are usually done under general anaesthetic as a day procedure in a hospital.
In laser ablation to cervix, a carbon dioxide (CO2) laser beam is used to destroy (vaporize) abnormal cervical tissue that can be seen through a colposcope.
In LLETZ, a thin loop of wire that carries electrical current is used like a scalpel to cut the transformation zone of the cervix (where abnormal cells exist).
Potential Risks & Complications of LLETZ
Both procedures are commonly performed and safe. There are potential risks with any surgery, this includes:
damage to surrounding organs (vagina, bladder or bowel)
The risk of preterm birth is increased after 2 of these procedures, most women will only have one treatment.
For more information about CST screening and results go to