A cold knife cone biopsy (conization) is surgery to remove a sample of abnormal tissue from the cervix. The cervix is the lower part of the uterus (womb) that opens at the top of the vagina. Abnormal changes in the cells on the surface of the cervix is called cervical dysplasia.
See also: Colposcopy-directed biopsy
This procedure is done in the hospital. You will be placed under general anestheisa (asleep and pain-free), or you will be given medicines to help you relax and feel sleepy.
You will lie on a table and place your feet in stirrups to position your pelvis for examination. The doctor will place an instrument (speculum) into your vagina to better see the cervix.
A small cone-shaped sample of tissue is removed from the cervix . It is examined under a microscope for signs of cancer. This biopsy may also be a treatment if the doctor removes all of the diseased tissue.
As with any procedure that is done under anesthesia, you will probably need to fast for 6 - 8 hours. You must sign an informed consent form. The procedure is done on the same day (outpatient) and a hospital stay is usually not needed.
After the procedure, you may have some cramping or discomfort for a week or so. For about 4 - 6 weeks avoid:
For 2 - 3 weeks after the procedure, you may have discharge that is:
Cold knife cone biopsy is done to detect cervical cancer or early changes that lead to cancer. A cold knife biopsy is done if a test called colposcopy cannot find the cause of an abnormal Pap smear.
Cold knife cone biopsy may also be used to treat:
A normal result means there are no precancerous or cancerous cells in the cervix.
Most often, abnormal results mean that there are precancerous or cancerous cells in the cervix. These changes are called cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN). The changes are divided into three groups:
Abnormal results may also be due to cervical cancer.
Cold knife cone biopsy may also make it difficult for your health care provider to interpret abnormal Pap smear results.
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Bellevue, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.