Information On Procedure, Side Effects and Recovery of Cervical Biopsy

Submitted on March 27, 2012

A cervical biopsy involves the collection of a tissue sample from the cervix for a detailed examination. This procedure can reveal diseases or any other abnormalities in the cervix. A cervical biopsy is usually done after a procedure called as colposcopy. A colposcopy allows the physician to do a detailed examination of the tissues in the cervix so as to identify abnormal or diseased tissues. In a colposcopy, an instrument called a speculum is used to keep the vaginal canal opened during examination. After the vaginal canal is kept open with the speculum, the doctor inserts a microscope called as the colposcope to magnify the cervix.

Methods To Identify Abnormal Area of the Cervix

There are two well-known methods that could help a physician to identify an abnormal area of the cervix. The first method involves removing the mucous from the cervix with an acetic acid solution, which helps to highlight the areas that are diseased or abnormal. The second method, also called the Schillers Method, involves staining the cervix with iodine. Abnormal or diseased portions of the cervix do not get stained helping the physician to easily identify them.

After the diseased or abnormal areas have been identified, the doctor does a biopsy using biopsy forceps. During the biopsy, the physician removes a small tissue portion from the cervix. It is also possible that a tissue sample may be removed from multiple areas of the cervix, depending on the results of the colposcope examination. The tissue samples are then sent to a pathologist for detailed examination.


The results of a cervical biopsy can either be normal or abnormal. An abnormal result could be an indication of mild or severe dysplasia or cervical cancer. Dysplasia also means that the cells are malformed or abnormal.

Side effects & Recovery Period

There are no serious cervical biopsy side effects and most women do not experience pain. What should be expected is a minor pinching sensation when the tissue sample is taken from the cervix. Following the biopsy, most women may experience a cramping sensation. This is the only kind cervical biopsy pain that could be encountered while undergoing this test.

As part of the cervical biopsy recovery, patients are asked to not douche the vaginal area, have sex, or use tampons for almost two weeks after the procedure. It is normal to expect minor bleeding during the recovery period; however, a consultation with a doctor is required if the bleeding and discharge is heavy or the patient develops a fever.