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Undergoing Colposcopy – A few basic information

Mar 31, 2017

Undergoing Colposcopy – A few basic information

Colposcopy is a medical procedure using a special magnifying device called colposcope to examine the inside of female reproductive organ including vagina, vulva and cervix. Colposcopy is used for diagnosis of various diseases like cervical cancer, cervicitis, vulvar cancer, vaginal cancer, precancerous lesions in cervix or vagina or vulva, genital warts, etc.

A colposcope is basically a lighted binocular with light or monocular microscope.  Magnification of different ranges (2x to 6x - 8x to 25x) is used to view the internal surfaces of vulva, vagina and cervix. Sometimes green filter is used to identify certain vascular patterns which may be a sign of advanced cancerous stages. Iodine solution (Schiller's or Lugol's Iodine) and acetic acid solution is used to improve the visualization of abnormal areas.


During the procedure, a woman lies on her back with legs in stirrups and gluteal areas on the lower edge of table. This is also known as dorsal lithotomy position. After examination of the vulva, a speculum is placed in the vagina and 3% acetic acid is applied to the cervix. In some cases a topical anaesthetic like lidocaine or cervical block is given to reduce discomfort of the patient. The area is then carefully examined as to which parts has turned white or not. Iodine is applied for better visualization. Biopsy is done for abnormal areas.

Latest Development

Although colposcopy is the most important and reliable method for detecting diseases like cervical cancer, but the procedure has not changed much over last 100 years.  We still have to depend on the subjective assessment of the clinician’s visualization. Zilico Ltd., has developed a pioneering cervical cancer diagnostic system ZedScan™- which is a portable hand held device and it helps the clinicians to perform a better and accurate real time diagnosis, treat patients, avoid unnecessary biopsies and follow up on appointments. ZedScan™ uses the science of Electrical Impedance Spectroscopy (EIS) for detection of precancerous lesions in the cervix. The device has been selected by IFC, a member of World Bank Group, to be part of a unique program across India.

Disclaimer: The information given in this write-up is purely for educating the reader. It is not meant to be a substitute for any advice from a medical expert.

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