What is a colposcopy?
A colposcopy is a procedure that allows a health care provider to closely examine a woman’s cervix, vagina, and vulva. It uses a lighted, magnifying device called a colposcope. The device is placed at the opening of the vagina. It magnifies the normal view, allowing your provider to see problems that can’t be seen by the eyes alone.
If your provider sees a problem, he or she may take a sample of tissue for testing (biopsy). The sample is most often taken from the cervix. This procedure is known as a cervical biopsy. Biopsies may also be taken from the vagina or vulva. A cervical, vaginal, or vulvar biopsy can show if you have cells that are at risk for becoming cancer. These are called precancerous cells. Finding and treating precancerous cells may prevent cancer from forming.
Other names: colposcopy with directed biopsy