Skip to content
Home > Hospitals & Services > Services A to Z > Colposcopy

Colposcopy

Our clinics mainly provide care for women with abnormal cervical smears. We diagnose and treat various conditions including abnormal cells and early cancers of the cervix. We also care for women with other conditions affecting the vulva and vagina. 

What is Colposcopy?

Colposcopy is an examination to look closely at the cervix (neck of the womb) using a special microscope. A similar examination may be performed at the vulva (vulvoscopy) or vagina (vaginoscopy).

Small tissue samples (biopsies) may be taken to check for any pre-cancerous or cancerous change. Treatment for pre-cancerous change can also be done at the same time if needed.

Most patients seen in colposcopy do not have cancer. We aim to spot and treat abnormalities before they become cancerous.

Further information

Who needs to be seen in the colposcopy clinic?
  • Patients with abnormal smears
  • Patients with abnormal cells on their cervix (CIN – Cervical Intra-epithelial Neoplasia) who require treatment
  • Patients found to have abnormal looking cervix or symptoms by their GP/nurse, requiring a second opinion
  • Patients with suspected or proven vulval abnormalities.
What happens in the clinic?

The doctor will check your details and smear history. You will be asked to get changed in a private area and the doctor will examine you on a couch with leg supports.

A speculum will be placed into the vagina (similar to a smear test). A solution will then be applied to the cervix to help show up any abnormalities.

If any abnormality is seen, the doctor may:

Take a biopsy

A tiny sample of the surface of the cervix will be taken and sent to the lab for testing. This may sting briefly.

Offer treatment either at the same appointment or at a later date

For those who need treatment, a local anaesthetic is injected into the cervix (this can sting a little for a very short time), so you will not feel any pain during treatment.

We offer 2 types of treatment:

‘LLETZ’/‘a loop’

  • A thin wire is used to remove the abnormal area from the cervix. The tissue removed will be sent away for more tests.

Cold coagulation/‘short heat treatment’

  • The abnormal tissue will be burned away by heat and no tissue sample will be sent away with this method
  • Our staff will check that you are feeling well after the procedure and offer after-care advice
  • The doctor will write to you with the test results. (It is important that we have the right address for you).
Clinic contact details

If you need to contact the clinic for any reason e.g. you are running a little late, the contact number are as follows:

  • Royal Alexandra Hospital: 0141 314 6719
  • Inverclyde Royal Hospital: 01457 525 411
  • Vale of Leven Hospital: 01389 817 275
  • Stobhill Hospital: 0141 355 1209
Additional information and support

Further information on smear can be obtained from: www.nhsinform.scot/healthy-living/screening/cervical/cervical-screening-smear-test

Further details on colposcopy can be obtained from: www.nhsinform.scot/tests-and-treatments/non-surgical-procedures/colposcopy

Useful organisations

For the small number of women who receive a diagnosis of cervical cancer, support and information will have been given by the colposcopy team and your local Clinical Nurse Specialist. Further useful information may be obtained from: