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Cone Biopsy

Alternate Names

  • cervical cone biopsy
  • cervical conization
  • Cervix
  • Female reproductive organs

Definition

A cone biopsy is a surgical procedure that involves taking a large tissue sample from the cervix. The cervix is the lowest part of the uterus and contains the opening from the uterus to the vagina. The tissue sample is called a biopsy.

Who is a candidate for the procedure?

A cone biopsy is used to treat precancerous changes of the cervix after they have been found when a small tissue sample or biopsy is taken at the time of colposcopy. The colposcopy is a test where a magnifying lens is used to examine the cervix because the pap smear has been abnormal.
A Pap smear is a test in which the provider uses a small spatula and a brush to gently scrape cells from the woman's cervix. These cells are sent to a lab for testing. The Pap smear may show early, abnormal changes in the cervix cells that can become malignant.

How is the procedure performed?

A cone biopsy can be done either with a scalpel (cold cone) or an electrosurgical wire (loop electrosurgical excision procedure or LEEP).
A cold cone biopsy is done under general anesthesia in an operating room. General anesthesia means medications are used to put a person to sleep during a procedure so that the individual feels no pain and has no awareness of the operation.
A LEEP procedure can be done in the operating room, or in the office with local anesthesia which just numbs the area
A cone-shaped piece of tissue is removed from the cervix with a special tool. A pathologist examines the sample under a microscope for abnormal cells that indicate cervical cancer or a precancerous condition. The procedure often completely removes the diseased tissue.

Sources

Danforth's Obstetrics and Gynecology, 1999, Scott et al.

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