What is it?

A colposcopy is a painless procedure in which the cervix and the vagina are examined with a special microscope (colposcope).

When is it indicated?

A colposcopy may be performed after an abnormal pap smear.

Course of the procedure

This test is performed like a normal gynaecological examination, using a speculum (a spacer), and it is performed during a regular consultation. The special microscope allows the physician to examine the cervix closely and to see if there are abnormalities that are too small to be seen with the naked eye. Certain colours are used to better detect abnormalities. If your physician does see abnormalities, he or she may take a biopsy.


For slight abnormalities, you will be asked to have a repeat pap smear after a few months to a year. In case of more extensive abnormalities, further treatment will follow. At present, the most common and effective treatment consists of a lusexcision. Other valid options are laser treatment, freezing or conisation. Your physician will decide, in consultation with you, which treatments are the most appropriate.

Centres and specialist areas

General gynaecology

Latest publication date: 11/08/2021
Supervising author: Dr Van Den Broecke Dirk