A pap smear is a preventive test that allows Dr. Roberts to examine the cells in the cervix. Abnormalities found in cervical cells can be caused by sexually transmitted diseases, infections, or cells that mutate or reproduce abnormally. If abnormalities are found in any of the cervical cells, he’ll perform a second pap smear or colposcopy to confirm the results.
Once Dr. Roberts confirms a diagnosis, he’ll develop an effective treatment plan for the patient. For example, cervical dysplasia is a common condition that’s found through the use of a pap smear. If found early enough, it can be treated through a conization procedure in which part of the cervix is removed. Laser treatments can also help eliminate the abnormal cells.
Adolescent girls and young women should begin receiving pap smears when they reach 21 years of age. While most girls start to have their periods between the ages of 10 and 12 years of age, annual examinations aren’t necessary unless they start having reproductive health problems or become sexually active. If the latter happens, pap smears are especially crucial. Once a patient becomes sexually active, the risk of exposure to sexually transmitted diseases and other harmful bacteria/viruses increases tremendously.
Regular pap smears can identify potential risks that may have an impact on the patient's future reproductive health. A pap smear is also the first line of defense against cervical cancer.
A colposcope is used to thoroughly examine the vulva, vagina, and cervix. If a pap smear discovers the presence of abnormal cells on the cervix, Dr. Roberts will perform one to determine the cause and an appropriate solution.
If needed, a biopsy of the cervix may be taken during the colposcopy. That involves slicing or excising a small piece of cervical tissue to determine the extent of the growth of the abnormal cells. If the biopsy determines the abnormal cells are spreading throughout the cervix, Dr. Roberts will perform a procedure known as conization: He’ll remove a cone-shaped section of tissue from the cervix. If the cells are still present, he’ll have to move on to more invasive procedures.
Feel free to email us regarding any scheduling or general questions!