Colposcopy: unveiled

Written by: Mr Alasdair Duncan Gordon
Edited by: Aoife Maguire

Leading consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Mr Alasdair Duncan Gordon reveals the answers to commonly asked questions about colposcopy, including why it is performed, what happens during the procedure and how to understand the results.



What is a colposcopy?


Colposcopy is a procedure performed by gynaecologists to closely examine the cervix, vagina, and vulva. It involves using a special instrument called a colposcope, which is a magnifying device with a light, to get a detailed view of these areas. The procedure is often recommended if there are abnormal results from a cervical screening test, such as a Pap smear.


Why is colposcopy done?


Colposcopy is typically performed to further investigate abnormal cervical cells detected during routine screening tests. These abnormalities could indicate the presence of precancerous or cancerous cells. By examining the cervix under magnification, the doctor can assess the extent of any abnormalities and determine if further treatment is necessary.


What happens during colposcopy?


During the procedure, you will lie on an examination table, similar to a pelvic exam. A speculum is inserted into the vagina to hold it open, allowing the healthcare provider to visualise the cervix. The colposcope is then positioned near the vagina, and a solution may be applied to the cervix to highlight any abnormal areas. The colposcope does not touch your body, and the procedure itself is generally not painful, although you may experience some discomfort.


Understanding the results


After the colposcopy, your gynaecologist will discuss the findings with you. If abnormal areas are identified, a biopsy may be taken for further analysis. It is important to remember that abnormal results from a colposcopy do not necessarily mean you have cancer. In many cases, they indicate precancerous changes that can be monitored or treated to prevent the development of cervical cancer.


Colposcopy is a valuable tool in the early detection of cervical abnormalities. While the procedure may seem intimidating, it is a relatively simple and quick process that can provide important information about your gynaecological health. If your gynaecologist recommends a colposcopy, don't hesitate to ask questions and seek clarification. Understanding the procedure and its purpose can help alleviate any anxiety and ensure you receive the best possible care for your health.





If you would like to book a consultation with Mr Gordon, do not hesitate to do so by visiting his Top Doctors profile today.

By Mr Alasdair Duncan Gordon
Obstetrics & gynaecology

Mr Alasdair Duncan Gordon is a top consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist based at several hospitals around the London area. He is an expert in performing colposcopies and laparoscopic surgery and treating fibroidsendometriosis, menopause and uterovaginal prolapse.

Mr Gordon has been a consultant since 2000 and is an accredited colposcopist who also regularly offers NICE approved treatments for heavy periods, stress urinary incontinence and ectopic pregnancies.

In 1987, he qualified from the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine and then held training posts in obstetrics and gynaecology at various teaching hospitals in London. He later underwent training in general surgery and received his FRCSEd before entering the rotation between UCLH and The Whittington Hospital, where he obtained his MRCOG. During his training, he researched new treatments for fibroids at The National Medical Laser Centre.

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