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).
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.
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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:
Do not eat or drink anything for 8 hours prior to the procedure.
You will be given some type of anesthesia. These options include:
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. A knife, laser, or heated loop will be used 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.
The procedure will take less than an hour.
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.
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.
When you return home:
A postoperative exam takes place at 6 weeks.
After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occur:
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
National Cancer Institute
National Cervical Cancer Coalition
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
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: http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/CervicalCancer/DetailedGuide/cervical-cancer-treating-surgery. Updated December 5, 2016.
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.
6/3/2011 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillancehttp://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T905141/Treatment-for-tobacco-use: 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 September 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Beverly Siegal, MD, FACOG Last Updated: 9/11/2014