Colposcopy is a gynecological examination, which helps to investigate both the vaginal cavity and the vaginal part of cervix.


The examination is performed in gynecological ambulance in woman in traditional gynecological position. The  procedure is carried out by a device called colposcope. The colposcope is equipped with a light source and it can significantly magnify the image. The doctor can view the inside of the vagina and especially the vaginal portion of cervix. The examination includes local smears for cytological examination and use of special dyes and substances (such as acetic acid) to improve the chance of finding any mucosal changes. When there is a suspicion of precancerous lesion or even a cancer, it is possible to take a small sample of tissue for histological examination (which is much more accurate than cytology).


No special preparation before the procedure is necessary, the patient may normally eat and drink before the test. Planned examination should be scheduled at a time outside the woman's period.


The main indication is examination of the cervix, which aims to detect precancerous changes and to determine the risk of cervical cancer. In addition, the colposcopy can also diagnose less common vaginal cancer.


The examination has no special disadvantages, it is fast, painless and useful. Sometimes, the mucosa may bleed after biopsy. However, the bleeding is usually mild and quickly ceases spontaneously.


The colposcopy allows high-quality visualization of the vaginal cavity, which improve results of cytology and histology. When there is a positive finding of cervical precancerous or cancerous lesion, the examination is followed with cervical conization, or even with gynecological surgery.


Jiri Stefanek, MD  Author of texts: Jiri Stefanek, MD
 Sources: basic text sources