Cervical Cytology

Submitted on March 27, 2012

Cervical cytological procedures are those screen methodologies that are conducted within the realm of a lab. Cytology is a branch of medicine that deals with the study of cells only. Cervical cytology is based on the screen of the epithelial cells in a woman’s cervix. This is done to check for cellular abnormalities like cancer and dysplasia.

Reasons for Cervical Cytology

Cervical cytology screening is performed by first taking the familiar Pap smear test. This is a test in which a sample of the cells of the cervix is taken and the cells are then analyzed in a lab for the presence of cancerous cells using the Betheseda System or TBS. Alternatively, the test is also used to check for the possibility of a virulent human papillomavirus or HPV infection that could indicate genital warts. HPV is quite an odd infection in that it stays in the uppermost epithelial layers of external tissue and causes aberrations in the DNA of cells thereby causing them to behave in a neoplastic way. Most HPV infections are inevitable for women who have sexual intercourse but HPV infections are usually defeated by the immune system in the first few months of the problem. It is for prolonged infections and recurring infections that the Pap smear results prove useful.


The Pap smear procedure can be a little uncomfortable for a woman. The procedure involves spreading the vagina open with an instrument and then using a brush like instrument to collect the cells of the cervix. The cells are then analyzed in a lab according to the TBS cervical cytology guidelines to classify a neoplastic or cancerous growth if present. Abnormal cervical cytology tests don’t necessarily mean that there is a problem but rather that further investigation is required. If an abnormality is discovered the test usually has to be repeated after a certain amount of time as the abnormality could even be because of the body going through a standard repair process after HPV infection.


The most important preparation for the test is to not get this test done during menses. This is because of the presence of endometrial cells in the vagina that cause mistaken results to come up. Additionally, avoid the use tampons before the test. Finally, one must be prepared for the procedure, which can be quite invasive and uncomfortable for a woman. Please speak to your doctor about any other concerns you may have.