Pap Smears Q & A
What is a Pap smear, and why do I need one?
A Pap smear is a pelvic screening during which your OB/GYN Associates of Miami doctor collects cells from your cervix. This allows them to determine if there are any abnormalities in the cells. Not only does this give your doctor the opportunity to check for the presence of cervical cancer, but it also gives them the chance to see if your cells are behaving in a way that suggests you have a heightened risk for developing this cancer in the future.
How often should I get a Pap smear?
Generally, the team at OB/GYN Associates of Miami recommends that all women between the ages of 21 and 65 get a Pap smear once every three years.
That said, if you have risk factors that heighten your likelihood of developing cervical cancer, your doctor will recommend more regular screening.
Get a Pap smear annually if you:
- Have ever had a Pap smear return an abnormal results
- Have human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
- Are immunocompromised
Talk with your provider at OB/GYN Associates of Miami, and they can let you know what schedule for cervical cancer screening is right for you.
What happens if my Pap smear comes back abnormal?
An abnormal test result feels scary. But the dedicated team at OB/GYN Associates of Miami has extensive experience treating women with abnormal Pap smear results.
Sometimes an abnormal Pap smear just requires doing another Pap smear at a later time. If there’s any question though, they offer these procedures.
If your test comes back abnormal, your doctor may recommend a colposcopy. During this procedure, they use a specialized microscope (the colposcope) to examine your cervix and biopsy any abnormal-looking cells. The process is noninvasive and very similar to getting a Pap smear.
If the biopsied cells only look slightly abnormal, your doctor will likely recommend annual Pap smears to continue monitoring the health of your cervix. If the cells are precancerous, they offer loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP).
Loop electrosurgical excision procedure
During a LEEP procedure, your doctor uses a small loop of electrically charged wire to scrape the abnormal cells from your cervix. Your cervix is numbed before the procedure so you can relax comfortably, and the entire process should take 20 minutes or less.
The removed cells are then tested to determine if the procedure captured all of the abnormal tissue.
To schedule your Pap smear and protect your cervical and overall health, call OB/GYN Associates of Miami or book an appointment online today.