At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.
Cervical conization is a medical procedure in which a piece of tissue the shape of a cone is removed from the cervix. Located at the back of the vagina, the cervix is the lower part of the uterus. A cervical conization may be performed to diagnose and treat abnormal cells appearing in the cervix. It may also be used to treat benign or noncancerous, as well as malignant or cancerous, cells.
This generally short surgical procedure may be performed in a hospital in an outpatient setting. Abnormal cells will be collected and sent to a pathology lab for further investigation. The results can reveal if further treatment is necessary to treat abnormalities discovered during the conization. Some type of anesthesia is generally used to lessen pain and discomfort. The patient may be released within several hours of having the procedure done.
An abnormal pap smear may begin the process leading to a cervical conization. A pap smear or pap test is a diagnostic tool used to detect abnormal cell changes in the cervix. The test can detect precancerous and cancerous cells, and may be to detect abnormal cells before they turn cancerous. The pap test may reveal benign or non-cancerous cervical conditions as well.
One condition that may be discovered by a pap test which could possibly lead to a cervical conization is cervical dysplasia. Cervical dysplasia is the abnormal growth of cells in the cervix. It is not cancer, but may be considered a precancerous condition. A diagnosis of this condition may indicate a mild, moderate, or severe appearance of abnormal cells in the cervix.
Cervical dysplasia may present no outward symptoms and is usually discovered with a pap smear. Treatment may depend on the severity of the condition. With mild dysplasia, no treatment may be necessary. If there is a presence of moderate or severe cervical dysplasia, surgical removal of the abnormal cells may be the preferred treatment of choice. This treatment may include a cervical dysplasia conization to remove the abnormal cells.
Cervical cancer is a malignant condition that may also be diagnosed by a pap smear and lead to a cervical conization procedure. This is one of the most common types of cancer in women, and starts in the cells located on the surface of the cervix. Cervical cancer typically grows slowly and may begin as cervical dysplasia.
The treatment of cervical cancer may vary according to the degree of disease present. An early diagnosis of cervical cancer may be easily treated. The disease may be treated by removing the cancerous tissue using a procedure such as a cervical cancer conization. If the cancer is caught early enough, a conization for cervical cancer may be all the treatment required.
Not all patients are good candidates for the cervical conization procedure; it varies according to the individual patient and severity of abnormalities present. Possible complications may include bleeding, infection, and scarring of the cervix. The full recovery period may extend from four to six weeks. A patient undergoing the procedure may address questions and concerns with the doctor who will perform it.