(Cone Biopsy; Cervical Cone Biopsy)
Pronounced: cervical cone-ih-zay-shun
by Shara Aaron, MS, RD
Cervical conization is done to remove a cone-shaped piece of tissue from the cervix. The cervix is located at the top of the vagina and is the entryway into the uterus (womb).
Reasons for Procedure TOP
A cervical conization is used to diagnose and to treat cervical cancer or precancerous changes in the cervix. The procedure takes place after a woman has had abnormal Pap smears. Pap smears are screening tests to detect abnormal, pre-cancerous, and cancerous cells in the cervix.
Possible Complications TOP
Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have a cervical conization, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about ways to manage factors that may increase your risk of complications such as:
What to Expect TOP
Prior to Procedure
Do not eat or drink anything for 8 hours prior to the procedure.
You will be given some type of anesthesia. These options include:
Description of the Procedure TOP
A speculum will be inserted into the vagina, similar to a Pap smear. It will hold your vagina open and allow instruments to pass easier. Your doctor will use a knife, laser, or heated loop to remove a cone-shaped piece of tissue from the cervix. If there are abnormal cells, they will also be removed. Self-absorbable sutures may be placed in the cervix to control bleeding.
The tissue will be sent to a lab to test for cancer. The test results will be available within a week.
How Long Will It Take? TOP
The procedure will take less than an hour.
How Much Will It Hurt? TOP
Anesthesia will prevent pain during this procedure. After the procedure, you may have some discomfort. You can take pain relievers to help manage any discomfort.
Postoperative Care TOP
At the Care Center
You will rest in a recovery area until the anesthesia wears off. When you are awake and aware, you will be able to go home.
During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection such as:
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chances of infection such as:
When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
A postoperative exam takes place at six weeks.
Call Your Doctor TOP
After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.
National Cancer Institute
National Cervical Cancer Coalition
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC)
Women's Health Matters
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Management of abnormal cervical cytology and histology. Practice Bulletin. 2008;99.
Cervical Cancer: Surgery. American Cancer Society website. Available at:
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Updated August 2010. Accessed November 18, 2010.
Fernandez-Montoli ME, Baldrick E, Mirapeix G, et al. Conservative treatment in gynaecological cancer for fertility preservation. Cochrane Gynaecological Cancer Group. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2010;(8).
Morris M, Mitchell MF, et al. Cervical conization as definitive therapy for early invasive squamous carcinoma of the cervix. Gynecol Oncol. 1993;51(2):193-196.
Stenchever MA. Comprehensive Gynecology. 4th ed. St. Louis, MO: Mosby; 2001:878-880.
6/3/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
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Mills E, Eyawo O, Lockhart I, Kelly S, Wu P, Ebbert JO. Smoking cessation reduces postoperative complications: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med. 2011;124(2):144-154.e8.
Last reviewed December 2013 by Andrea Chisholm, MD
Last Updated: 01/28/2014