Papanicolaou test (PA-puh-NIH-koh-low...)
A procedure in which a small brush or spatula is used to gently remove cells from the cervix so they can be checked under a microscope for cervical cancer or cell changes that may lead to cervical cancer. A Papanicolaou test may also help find other conditions, such as infections or inflammation. It is sometimes done at the same time as a pelvic exam and may also be done at the same time as a test for certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV). Also called Pap smear and Pap test.