Abnormal Smear Test? Mr Alan Gillespie Explains Why You May Need a Colposcopy

Mr Alan Gillespie, Consultant Gynaecologist
Claremont Clinics: Thursday evenings/Friday & Saturday mornings


What is HPV and why is my smear test abnormal?
HPV is the virus that causes smear abnormalities.  Approximately three quarters of the population will get a HPV infection at some point and most of these are short lived with no effects.  Women who develop smear problems have persistent HPV infections which leads to the abnormalities in the cells of the cervix that are identified in the cervical smear.
Why would I need a Colposcopy?
Colposcopy is required when your smear test is abnormal or when your GP or Practice Nurse is concerned about the appearance of your cervix (neck of the womb).

What is Colposcopy?
Colposcopy is an examination of your cervix by a doctor who specialises in problems related to cervical smears. The procedure is similar to when you have a smear but takes a few minutes longer.  During the examination, the doctor will inspect your cervix carefully and may sometimes take a further smear or a biopsy (small piece of skin).  Colposcopy is safe and usually well tolerated.  You can eat and drink before the examination as occasionally women feel a little light headed.

What will happen when I attend for Colposcopy at Claremont?
The aim of the Colposcopy is to reassure you as quickly as possible at this anxiety provoking time.  You will be met by the reception staff in a private consulting area.  You will have an initial consultation with your consultant who will explain the procedure and reassure you regarding any concerns or anxieties you may have. The nursing staff will then take you to a separate private room where you will get ready for the examination.  After the examination you will have a further conversation with your consultant and follow up arrangements will be made.

Will I need further follow up?
This depends on the findings during the Colposcopy.  The examination itself may be all that is required to provide you with full reassurance.  If biopsies or treatment of your cervix are required, further follow up appointments will be necessary to discuss results, plan your management and check that your cervix has returned to normal.

Should I be worried about Cancer?
The abnormality of the cells in a cervical smear commonly indicates a degree of pre-cancer but it is unlikely that cancer is present.  The Colposcopy and associated tests usually confirm and reassure that there is no evidence of Cancer.
Private Colposcopy with Mr Gillespie at Claremont ranges between £371 and £731 (depending on tests required) plus an initial consultation fee of £185 if you don’t have health insurance.  For more information or to book an appointment with Mr Gillespie, just call our Private Patient Team on 0114 263 2114 or email  You only need a GP referral letter if you are insured, you can see one of our Private GPs quickly for this if you prefer. 

Copyright Alan Gillespie, 2016.

Date: 22/06/2016
By: technical