A colposcopy is a minor procedure that uses a microscope to examine your cervix for signs of disease, often if cervical screening has detected abnormal cells in your cervix.

What is colposcopy?

Colposcopy is a 20-minute outpatient examination that uses a microscope, called a colposcope, to assess the health of, and check for abnormalities in, your cervix, vagina and vulva under magnification. It aims to find any problems early on so that they don’t develop into anything more serious.

During a colposcopy, a speculum is inserted into your vagina and gently opened, the same as during your cervical screening. A microscope with a light is then positioned a few inches from your vulva and is used to look at your cervix. Liquids may be applied to your cervix to highlight any abnormal areas. A small amount of tissue might be removed, known as a biopsy, and sent to a laboratory for testing.

A colposcopy is recommended if your cervical screening showed abnormal cells, your cervix does not look as healthy as it should, or clear results have not been achieved after several screening tests. It may also be used if you have an abnormal lump or growth on your cervix or vagina or if you have unusual vaginal bleeding.

A colposcopy procedure can help diagnose cervical cancer or precancer, benign growths such as polyps, inflammation of the cervix, and genital warts.

How painful is a colposcopy?

A colposcopy is not normally painful but it may be a bit uncomfortable. You do not need any anaesthetic for a colposcopy. As the speculum is inserted you may feel pressure and a sting-like sensation as the liquid is applied. If you have a biopsy, you might have some discomfort.

How long does it take to get the results of a colposcopy?

Often you will get the results of a colposcopy straight away as your doctor will be able to tell you what they’ve found.

If you have a biopsy taken, you will need to wait a week or two to receive your results. Your doctor will be able to advise you when to expect your biopsy results and how they will let you know them.

What is the recovery process after a colposcopy procedure?

A colposcopy is a straightforward walk in walk out procedure so you will be able to go home and continue with your normal daily routine as soon as it is completed.

You may have some spotting or very light bleeding from your vagina over the first few days after the procedure.

If you had a biopsy, you might experience pain in your vagina or vulvar for a day or two, light bleeding or a dark vaginal discharge for a few days. We recommend you use a pad to catch any blood or discharge.

You should avoid swimming, sexual intercourse, and tampons until the discharge has cleared up to reduce your risk of infection.

Following the procedure, you may experience a heavier or more prolonged first period than usual and period irregularity for a couple of months.

What is the cost of a colposcopy procedure?

The cost of your colposcopy will depend on your chosen Ramsay hospital.

This guide package price is an estimate of the costs of your colposcopy procedure. You will receive a formal quotation price following your consultation with one of our expert surgeons. This formal quote for your colposcopy procedure will be valid for 60 days and includes unlimited aftercare.

We have a number of finance options if you are paying for your colposcopy yourself. These include:

  • Interest-free finance - requires no deposit, offers the ability to pay in monthly instalments, and benefits from 0% interest
  • All-inclusive Total Care - a single one-off payment at a pre-agreed price that delivers direct access to all the treatment you need for complete reassurance
  • Pay as you go – a flexible funding option if your treatment costs are difficult to assess, that allows you to meet your treatment costs as and when they arise.
  • Colposcopy surgery is covered by most medical insurance policies. We advise you to check with your insurance provider and obtain their written authorisation before starting your treatment.

Colposcopy surgery at Ramsay Health Care

Here at Ramsay Health Care UK, we understand the distress you will be feeling if abnormal cells have been detected in your cervix following your cervical screening.

We offer you rapid and convenient appointments for a colposcopy and a fast turnaround for biopsy results to help put your mind at rest and to understand more accurately any problems of your cervix. We provide on-site and virtual support if further care and treatments are required. Patient safety is our primary concern and we are delivering the best care whilst adhering to strict protocols to minimise any risk of infection.

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Contact your local Ramsay hospital to book an appointment or for more information. Treatment may be covered by medical insurance and self pay packages are available on request.