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What is colposcopy?

Colposcopy is a procedure commonly performed in the office for women who have had abnormal PAP smears or have genital skin lesions. PAP smears and pelvic exams are screening exams. If your PAP smear returns with abnormal cells or if the physician detects an abnormal area of skin in your genital area, your physician may need to look at your cervix or genital tissue through a special microscope called a colposcope. Your physician can identify abnormal cells by the instrument's magnification which would not be visible to the naked eye. Often, a solution is applied to the area to help identify abnormal cells. Your physician may also perform a biopsy (take a sample of tissue) during this procedure to send to pathology. Colposcopy is not needed for all women; tell your doctor if you have concerns or quetions regarding this procedure.