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
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.
Cervix with Precancerous Growth
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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: InfectionBleedingPremature delivery with future pregnanciesScarring of the cervix
Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about ways to manage factors that may increase your risk of complications such as:
SmokingDrinkingChronic disease, such as diabetes or obesity
Do not eat or drink anything for 8 hours prior to the procedure.
You will be given some type of anesthesia. These options include: Local anesthetic—The area will be numbed. IV sedation may also be given to help you relax.Regional anesthesia
(epidural, spinal)—The lower half of the body will be numb.
General anesthesia—You will be asleep.
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.
During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection such as: Washing their handsWearing gloves or masks
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chances of infection such as: Washing your hands often and reminding visitors and healthcare providers to do the sameReminding your healthcare providers to wear gloves or masks
When you return home: You may have some bleeding or discharge from your vagina for several days postsurgery. A sanitary napkin or pad may be worn. Tampons should not be used for a month or more after the surgery.Sexual intercourse is discouraged for 4-6 weeks.
A postoperative exam takes place at 6 weeks.
After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occur: Signs of infection, including fever, chills, or foul-smelling discharge from vaginaHeavy vaginal bleeding (This may not occur until about 1 week after the operation, when the healing scar is shed from the cervix.)Abdominal or pelvic pain that worsens
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Management of abnormal cervical cytology and histology.
Cervical Cancer: Surgery. American Cancer Society website. Available at:
http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/CervicalCancer/DetailedGuide/cervical-cancer-treating-surgery. Updated February 26, 2015. Accessed October 8, 2015.
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.
Last reviewed September 2016 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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