Abnormal pap smears are common and may require taking a closer look with a procedure called a colposcopy. During a colposcopy the cervix is visualized with a speculum, similar to the exam done for a pap smear. The difference is that the cervix is cleaned with a vinegar solution and viewed with a colposcope, which is a series of lights and lenses that magnify the cervix and allow the provider to take a closer look.
Under magnification a biopsy of the cervix may be done, which involves taking a small area of tissue off the cervix. This can be mildly uncomfortable, and if you are able to tolerate ibuprofen (Motrin/Advil/Aleve) or acetaminophen (Tylenol), you can take this prior to the procedure. The results from colposcopy are useful in determining the best way to manage abnormal pap smears.
Leep procedures remove tissue from the cervix using an electric current. A fine wire loop electrode removes the diseased tissue and at the same time cauterizes the site. Your feet are placed in the stirrups and a speculum is placed in the vagina to visualize the cervix. Local anesthesia is injected around the cervix. Uterine cramping can occur during and following the procedure. The excised tissue is sent to a laboratory for examination to confirm the diagnosis.