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Cone Biopsy

Your health care provider has found that your Pap test and colposcopy (microscope) exam showed abnormal cells on your cervix. He or she may offer to do a cone biopsy to find and treat this problem. A cone biopsy is a quick outpatient procedure. This procedure may be performed in the office with local anesthesia (numbing medication on your cervix) or with general anesthesia (asleep) in the operating room. The most common type of cone biopsy is the loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP). With a LEEP, a wire with an electrical current is used to take the biopsy. This may also be done with a small knife or laser.  

Closeup of cross section of cervix showing loop-shaped instrument removing tissue from cervix.
A cone-shaped piece of tissue is cut from the cervix. This removes the abnormal cells. The tissue that grows back is usually normal.

Preparing for a Cone Biopsy

If you will be given general anesthesia, do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before surgery. Follow your health care provider’s instructions. You’ll also need to have an adult friend or family member drive you home after the procedure. On the day of surgery, get to the hospital or surgery center in time to sign in and get ready for your procedure.

Your Surgery

  • You’ll be given anesthesia before your biopsy to keep you comfortable during surgery.

  • Your health care provider then puts a thin metal instrument (speculum) into the vagina to see the cervix.

  • Then a small cone-shaped piece of tissue is removed from the cervix. The tissue is cut from the opening up into the canal.

  • The tissue that is removed is then sent to the lab. The lab studies the tissue and makes sure the abnormal cells have been cut away.

Your health care provider will discuss the risks and possible complications of cone biopsy with you. These include:

  • Incomplete removal of abnormal tissue

  • Severe bleeding

  • Infection

  • Weakening or scarring of the cervix

Author: StayWell Custom Communications
Last Annual Review Date: 9/25/2014
Copyright © The StayWell Company, LLC. except where otherwise noted.
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