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General enquiries:
+44 (0)207 935 4444
Book an appointment:
+44 (0)207 616 7693
Self-pay enquiry:
+44 (0)203 219 3315

What is a colposcopy?

A colposcopy is a procedure to examine your cervix (neck of your womb). For some women treatment can be performed at the same time.

Figure showing the womb and surrounding structures


What are the benefits of a colposcopy?

A colposcopy is usually recommended if a smear test has shown there is a problem with the cells in your cervix, or a number of smear tests have failed to get a good enough sample of cells to make a diagnosis.

Are there any alternatives to a colposcopy?

If you have abnormal cells, a colposcopy is the only way of finding out the type of abnormality and how serious the problem is.

What does the procedure involve?

A colposcopy involves an examination using a speculum (the same instrument used for a smear test) and usually takes 10 to 20 minutes. You will need to put your legs in ‘stirrups’, so your gynaecologist can examine your cervix.

They can perform biopsies (removing small pieces of tissue) to help make the diagnosis.

If your gynaecologist decides it is best to treat the problem straightaway, they will usually perform a LLETZ (large loop excision of the transformation zone). A LLETZ is a minor operation to remove part of your cervix.

Other treatments include laser treatment and freezing (cryocautery). Sometimes a treatment using heat is used (cold coagulation).

What complications can happen?

Some of these can be serious and can even cause death.

  • Pain
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Incomplete removal of the abnormal cells

How soon will I recover?

You should be able to go home the same day.

You should be able to return to work and normal activities the day after your colposcopy.

The healthcare team will send you the results of any biopsy or treatment within about 4 weeks of your colposcopy. They will discuss with you any further treatment or follow up you need.

Regular exercise should improve your long-term health. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.


A colposcopy and LLETZ is usually a safe and effective way of finding and treating any problem with your cervix.

Main numbers

General enquiries: 020 7935 4444 Appointments: 020 7616 7693 Self-Pay: 020 3219 3315

Contact numbers for service departments

Other numbers

Concierge service: 020 3219 3323International office: 020 3219 3266Invoice and payment enquiries: 020 7616 7708Press office 020 7616 7676

Your call may be recorded for training and monitoring purposes.

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