- Colleen M Feltmate, MD
Colleen M Feltmate, MD
- Assistant Professor
- Harvard Medical School
- Sarah Feldman, MD, MPH
Sarah Feldman, MD, MPH
- Associate Professor
- Harvard Medical School
Colposcopy is a diagnostic procedure in which a colposcope (a dissecting microscope with various magnification lenses) is used to provide an illuminated, magnified view of the cervix, vagina, vulva, or anus (picture 1) . The primary goal of colposcopy is to identify precancerous and cancerous lesions so that they may be treated early.
Colposcopy is performed most commonly of the cervix, and is the main focus of this topic. It is used as further evaluation of abnormal cervical cancer screening tests (cytology and/or human papillomavirus testing).
Colposcopic evaluation is based on the finding that malignant and premalignant epithelium have specific visual characteristics in terms of contour, color, and vascular pattern that are recognizable using colposcopy. The improved visualization of epithelial surfaces with colposcopy compared with gross visual examination enhances the colposcopist's ability to distinguish normal from abnormal areas and to obtain directed biopsies.
The techniques for colposcopy of the female lower genital tract are reviewed here. Related topics are discussed in detail separately, including:
●Cervical cancer screening (see "Screening for cervical cancer")To continue reading this article, you must log in with your personal, hospital, or group practice subscription. For more information on subscription options, click below on the option that best describes you:
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- RELEVANT ANATOMY AND HISTOLOGY
- INSTRUMENTATION AND EQUIPMENT
- Other supplies and instruments
- PREPROCEDURE PREPARATION
- Review of history and records
- Informed consent and counseling
- - Procedural anxiety
- CERVICAL COLPOSCOPY
- - Repeat cytology and HPV testing
- - Gross visualization
- - Colposcopic examination
- - Approach to a difficult colposcopy
- - Biopsies
- - Endocervical curettage
- - Documentation
- - Follow-up
- VAGINAL COLPOSCOPY
- VULVAR COLPOSCOPY
- PREGNANT WOMEN
- INFORMATION FOR PATIENTS
- SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS