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What is the procedure for a colposcopy?

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A colposcopy procedure is usually performed in a doctor’s office and involves lying on an examination table while a colposcope is placed near the vulva. The colposcope provides a magnified view of the vagina and cervix, explains Mayo Clinic.

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Prior to having a colposcopy procedure, a patient removes clothing below the waist and is given a covering to place over her body while lying on an examination table. A patient is examined while her feet are raised and placed in supportive foot rests, states WebMD.

Before the medical practitioner looks through the lens of the colposcope, a lubricated speculum is inserted into the vagina to spread the vaginal walls apart to obtain a view inside the vagina and cervix. After the colposcope is positioned a few inches away from the vagina, a bright light is shone into it to aid the health practitioner in the examination. To help identify any abnormal tissues, iodine or vinegar may be used inside the vagina. If abnormal tissues are identified, the tissue is biopsied and cells are examined under a microscope. A silver nitrate swab may be used to stop any bleeding that occurs as a result of the biopsy. Additionally, videos and photos of the vagina and cervix may be taken during the procedure, according to WebMD. Having a colposcopy procedure and biopsy takes approximately 10 to 20 minutes, notes Mayo Clinic.

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