Colposcopy and LLETZ

This page will provide you with information about a colposcopy. For further details, you should speak to your consultant.

What is a colposcopy?

A colposcopy is carried out to examine your cervix (neck of your womb) (see figure 1). A colposcopy is typically carried out when a smear test shows that there is an issue with the cells in your cervix. Some women undergo a surgical procedure at the same time as a colposcopy. 

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Are there any alternatives to surgery?

If abnormal cells are found within your cervix, a colposcopy is the only effective way in finding out how serious the problem is.

What does a colposcopy involve?

During a colposcopy, your gynaecologist will examine your cervix in a procedure that typically lasts between 10 and 12 minutes. To help with the diagnosis, your doctor may carry out biopsies, where they will remove small pieces of tissue from your cervix. Your gynaecologist may decide to treat the issue straightaway and in that case, they will perform a large loop excision of the transformation zone (LLETZ). This is a small procedure that involves removing part of your cervix. Alternative treatments include freezing (cryocautery), using heat (cold coagulation) and laser treatment.

Risks and complications

Any risks or complications will be discussed in advance of your treatment with your expert consultant.

How long will it take to heal?

Following a colposcopy, a healthcare professional will discuss what they found during the examination, and will talk through possible treatment and follow-up solutions. The majority of patients return home the same day as the procedure and are able to return to work and normal activities the following day. Regular exercise is recommended to boost your long-term health, but you should first seek advice from your consultant.


References: EIDO Healthcare Limited - The operation and treatment information on this website is produced using information from EIDO Healthcare Ltd and is licensed by Aspen Healthcare.

The information should not replace advice that your GP or health professional would give you.


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