By Laura NathanDoubting your diagnosis? Read on to find out what you might really
Sometimes even the best doctors miss the mark: About 40 percent of all
mistakes that M.D.s make are misdiagnoses, says the National Patient Safety
Foundation. That's because many ailments have similar symptoms or can be
detected only with tests that your physician might consider unnecessary if he's
confident in his verdict. If you're in the know about often-confused
conditions, though, you can ask the right...
Abnormal tissue that can be seen through the magnifying
viewing instrument (colposcope) can often be destroyed or removed with
cryotherapy, a cone biopsy, a carbon dioxide (CO2) laser, or the loop
electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP).
Abnormal cervical cells
that are detected by a Pap test but cannot be seen by colposcopy may be high in
the cervix (cervical canal). Before treatment is recommended, the location and
type of cell change must be confirmed by a cervical biopsy. Depending on the
results of the colposcopy and cervical biopsy, a
cone biopsy may be done as the next step.
Surgical choices for abnormal cervical cell changes
include the following:
Procedures that remove abnormal tissue
Cone biopsy (conization) removes a cone-shaped wedge of abnormal cells high in the
cervical canal. A small amount of normal tissue around the cone-shaped wedge of
abnormal tissue is also removed so that a margin free of abnormal cells is left
in the cervix.
destroys abnormal cervical cells by freezing them.
Carbon dioxide laser uses a laser beam to destroy
(vaporize) abnormal cervical cells. It can also be used to remove a cone-shaped
wedge of tissue like a cone biopsy.
If the results of a Pap test, colposcopy, and
cervical or cone biopsy point to invasive cervical cancer, then surgery,
radiation, chemotherapy, or a combination of treatments will be needed to
destroy or remove the cancerous tissue.
Minor cell changes may not need
to be treated with surgery. When deciding on treatment for minor cell changes,
consider the following:
Infections may be cured with medicines for
the specific cause of the infection.
Minor cell changes often go
away without treatment. Your doctor may suggest a period of
watchful waiting before further evaluation or a biopsy
is recommended. Surgery may be needed if the cell changes are confirmed by
biopsy to be progressing to more severe cell changes. Surgery may also be done
if follow-up evaluation is not possible or immediate treatment is
Cell changes caused by
human papillomavirus (HPV) infection may not progress
beyond mild changes. The natural course of most types of HPV is for the cells
to change back to normal within 18 months without treatment. Cervical cell
changes caused by HPV may be treated because of their degree of abnormality,
but treatment does not eliminate the virus. You may still have HPV inside your
Treatment choices for moderate to severe cell changes are
more likely to include surgery to specifically destroy or remove the abnormal
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
December 28, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this