Boca Raton Obstetrics and Gynecology
OBGYNs & Obstetrics & Gynecology located in Boca Raton, FL
If you’ve received the result of an abnormal Pap smear, never fear: Boca Raton Obstetrics and Gynecology can help. Expert OB/GYN Richard Conlen, MD, and his friendly office team offer both routine cervical cancer screening and advanced care for abnormal results. Call the Boca Raton, Florida, office or use online scheduling to discuss your abnormal Pap smear and what you should do next.
Abnormal Pap Smear Q & A
What is a Pap smear?
A Pap smear is a cervical cancer screening test. This test checks for abnormalities within the cells in your cervix (the opening of your uterus). Pap smears are routinely performed during your gynecologic checkups at Boca Raton Obstetrics and Gynecology.
What does an abnormal Pap smear result mean?
An abnormal Pap smear means that under microscopic exam, your cells look different than healthy ones. This difference may range from very mild to quite pronounced. It's easier to understand what an abnormal Pap smear means by defining what it doesn't mean: It almost never means you have cervical cancer.
But, an abnormal Pap smear does mean that you have cell changes that could turn into cervical cancer later. So, the abnormal results are simply an early warning that you could need treatment to prevent that progression.
Why would I have an abnormal Pap smear?
The most common reason for abnormal Pap smear results is human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. There are more than 100 varieties of HPV, but the majority of cervical cancer cases develop due to either type 16 or type 18.
What should I do about an abnormal Pap smear?
The next step following an abnormal Pap smear depends on your specific test results.
Your doctor at Boca Raton Obstetrics and Gynecology may recommend a repeat Pap smear. Or, they might recommend a colposcopy and biopsy after an abnormal Pap smear. This in-office procedure is a lot like a Pap smear, but in this case, your doctor views your abnormal cervical cells directly using high magnification. Then, they take a tiny tissue sample (biopsy) for additional testing in the laboratory.
For low-grade abnormalities, your doctor might recommend a watch-and-wait approach. You usually don't need to take further action until your next Pap smear. The HPV may clear up on its own by your next Pap smear.
If you have more serious cell abnormalities, your doctor may recommend removing the infected tissue in a loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) procedure. In this minimally invasive outpatient procedure, your doctor uses a controlled electrical current to remove targeted abnormal cells in your lower genital tract.
After an abnormal Pap smear, it's very important to follow up by having any necessary tests or procedures. Taking the appropriate actions now can prevent cervical cancer later.
Abnormal Pap smears can be scary, but they don't have to be when you have Boca Raton Obstetrics and Gynecology in your corner. Book an appointment or call the office today.