What to Expect

In a biopsy, your doctor removes a small amount of tissue for examination under a microscope to look for precancerous cells or cancer cells. Most women have the biopsy in the gynecologist's office and no anesthesia is needed.

What to expect:

You'll lie on your back on a table with your feet in supports, just as during a pelvic exam or Pap test.

Different types of cervical biopsies

Punch biopsy

The tissue sample is removed from the cervix using biopsy forceps, an instrument used to grasp tissue firmly and then remove it. This procedure is usually performed in your gynecologist's office and does not require anesthesia.

Endocervical curettage (ECC)

A tissue sample is scraped from an area just past the opening of the cervix using a curette (small, spoon-shaped instrument) or a thin, soft brush. This can be done in your gynecologist's office and does not require anesthesia.

LEEP (Loop Electro-Surgical Excision Procedure)

The LEEP is performed using a small heated wire to remove tissue and precancerous cells from the cervix. This procedure can be done in your doctor's office and requires local anesthesia.

Cone biopsy (also called LEEP cone or cold knife cone biopsy)

A cone-shaped sample of tissue is removed from the cervix so that the pathologist can see if abnormal cells are in the tissue beneath the surface of the cervix. A sample of tissue can be removed for a cone biopsy using a LEEP cone procedure, which can be done in the doctor's office under local anesthesia. The knife cone procedure is performed in an operating room and you'll have local or general anesthesia.