Abnormal Pap Smears

Pap Smears are a screening test looking for pre cancerous cells to assist with early detection and treatment of the cervix before cancer develops. When found early, precancerous and even cancer is almost always treatable and curable.

An Abnormal Pap Smear warrants either closer follow-up, or for high-grade changes or persistent changes, further investigation with colposcopy.

Colposcopy is viewing the cervix with a microscope. The procedure is done in the practice rooms. The procedure is performedwith you lying on an examination bed similar to having a Pap smear.

The colposcope magnifies the cervix allowing the outer portion of the cervix to be visualised by the doctor. Occasionally a biopsy is taken for further study and assist with determining the best treatment for you.

If you require treatment the most common treatment is the LLETZ or Large Loop Excision of the Transformation Zone. This procedure is done in the theatre under either local anaesthetic or general anaesthetic. It involves taking a small segment of the cervix (with the abnormal cells).

The LLETZ is performed as a day procedure. It is a quick operation. As with all procedures there are some possible complications:

  • Excessive bleeding from the cervix, which may need blood transfusion or further surgery, either initially or within weeks of the procedure.
  • Infection may be introduced into the cervix, uterus, tubes or abdomen. This may require treatment with antibiotics.
  • Sometimes not all of the abnormal tissue is completely removed, requiring further surgery
  • Uncommonly, the cervix may be weakened by this procedure resulting in a slight increase in the future pregnancy risk of a late miscarriage or preterm birth.
  • Rarely the cervix may be damaged and narrowed leading to painful periods, difficulty in performing adequate pap smears, or problems in the progress of a future labour.

Following treatment for abnormal cells you will be followed up more closely for at least 2 years to ensure your Pap Smears return to normal.

DR Kylie Isaacs welcomes all women who require further review of abnormal Pap smears but also those women due for their routine Pap smear screen. The practice has a recall system to assist women by sending out reminders when your next Pap smear is due.