This information is for women who have an abnormal result from a cervical smear (pap smear) and need to have a colposcopy (pronounced kol-poss-kapee).
The results of your cervical smear have been sent to the National Cervical Screening Programme and your doctor or smear taker. Your nearest clinic has sent you a letter to arrange a colposcopy appointment.
A colposcopy is a detailed examination of the cervix (entrance to the uterus) with a specially lit microscope (colposcope).
As with a Pap Smear, an instrument called a speculum is inserted into the vagina, and then the colposcope is positioned outside the vagina with its light directed on the cervix.
A specialist will perform a colposcopy if your pap smear has shown abnormal or cancerous cells on the cervix.
During the procedure further samples of tissue (biopsies) are usually removed and examined in the laboratory so the doctors can get a clearer idea of the extent of the abnormal cells.