A colposcopy is a simple, quick and painless procedure conducted by one of our specialist consultants, to look more closely at the cells in the neck of the womb (cervix). It’s often carried out if cervical screening finds abnormal cells in your cervix. Abnormal Cells aren’t always harmful and often go away on their own, but sometimes there can be a risk that these cells could eventually turn into cervical cancer. A colposcopy can confirm whether you have abnormal cells and determine if you need any further treatment to remove them.

The colposcopy procedure involves the use of an instrument called a colposcope. This does not touch you or go inside you and the procedure itself will usually only last 15 – 20 minutes.

We offer same day appointments to patients who require this procedure. Just call us on 01483 917 507.

If you are pregnant a colposcopy will not affect the delivery of your baby, nor will it affect your ability to become pregnant in the future. However, treatment is usually postponed until after the delivery of your baby.

What Happens During The Examination?

The nurse will help you to position yourself on a special type of couch, the couch has padded supports on which you rest your legs. When you are lying comfortably the consultant will gently insert a speculum into your vagina, just as when you had your cervical screening test. After this the doctor will look at your cervix using a colposcope. The colposcope is a specially adapted type of microscope. It might look a bit alarming, but is just a large magnifying glass with a light source attached. It looks like a large pair of binoculars on a stand. It does not touch you or go inside you.

The doctor will then dab different liquids onto your cervix to help identify and highlight any areas of abnormal cells. The abnormal areas will appear white. If any abnormal area is identified, a small sample of tissue – a biopsy – will be taken from the surface of the cervix. A biopsy is about the size of a pinhead. You may feel a slight stinging, but it should not be painful.

After you have dressed, the doctor may be able to tell you what is wrong and what treatment, if any, is needed. But often, especially if you have had a biopsy, you will not be given a definite diagnosis immediately after the examination. It will take a week or two before you get the results of the biopsy. After the examination you should feel well enough to continue with your usual routine. Your consultant will see you for a follow up two weeks after the initial appointment and discuss the results of the biopsy or book you in for treatment.


If you have abnormal or precancerous cells, your doctor may offer you treatment to remove them. This will depend on how abnormal your cells are and how far down into your cervix they go. If you need treatment, your doctor will be able to advise which option is best for you.

LLETZ (Large Loop Excision of the Transformation Zone), is the most common treatment used in the UK. LLETZ uses a loop with an electric current that passes through it, to remove the abnormal cells from your cervix. This procedure is carried out by your consultant in the clinic under local anaesthetic.

Will I Need To Have Check-Ups?

Yes. It is important to keep your appointments to make sure that your cervix is still healthy.

We would recommend a follow-up check between four and six months after the examination or treatment. During this visit the consultant will take a cervical screening test and may do another colposcopy examination to make sure that the cervix is healthy again. You may have another follow-up check six months later. This visit will be similar to the previous one.

Prices for colposcopy start from £550.