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Understanding Cervical Changes: A Health Guide for Women

  • Posted: 04/30/2014

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Treatments for Cervical Cell Changes

Some abnormal cervical changes need to be removed so they do not turn into cancer. Your doctor will talk with you about which treatment is recommended for you and why. The questions at the end of this section can help you talk with your health care provider to learn more.

"It was reassuring to talk with my doctor. She helped me understand what to expect. It was comforting to learn how this treatment would help me."

Common Treatment Methods Include:

  • Cold knife conization uses a scalpel to remove abnormal tissue. This procedure is done at the hospital and requires general anesthesia.
  • Cryotherapy uses a special cold probe to destroy abnormal tissue by freezing it. This procedure is done in your doctor’s office. It takes only a few minutes and usually does not require anesthesia.
  • Laser therapy uses a laser (narrow beam of intense light) to destroy abnormal tissue. This procedure is done at the hospital and general anesthesia is used.
  • LEEP (loop electrosurgical excision procedure) uses a thin wire loop, through which an electrical current is passed, to remove abnormal tissue. Local anesthesia is used to numb the area. Your doctor usually performs this procedure in the office. It takes only a few minutes, and you will be awake during the procedure.

Questions to Ask Before Treatment

  • What are the possible treatments for the condition that I have?  What are the advantages and disadvantages of each treatment?
  • Which treatment do you recommend for me, and why?
  • What will happen during the treatment?
  • What are the possible risks of this treatment? How might this treatment affect a future pregnancy?
  • How long will the procedure take? Will general or local anesthesia be needed?
  • What side effects might I have from this procedure? How long might these side effects last?
  • Are there any activities that I should avoid after the procedure?