Yuan-Da Fan, MD
Gynecologist located in Union Square, San Francisco, CA
An abnormal Pap smear doesn’t necessarily indicate cervical cancer, but it does mean you need some more tests. At his office in the Union Square neighborhood of San Francisco, California, Yuan-Da Fan, MD, provides Pap smears and the testing you need after an abnormal Pap smear. Contact the office by phone or schedule your next Pap smear online today.
Abnormal Pap Smears Q & A
What are Pap smears?
A Pap smear is an extra test that happens during your routine pelvic exams, which happen yearly. Pap smears only happen every few years and usually start at age 21. They check your cervix for cellular changes that indicate conditions like inflammation, human papillomavirus (HPV), precancer, or cancer.
During your Pap smear with Dr. Fan, he takes a sample of cells from your cervix using a swab. You might feel a slight pinch, but the procedure generally isn’t painful. Dr. Fan sends the cell sample to a testing laboratory and waits a few days for the results. He lets you know what they are as soon as he has them and tells you if you need to come in for additional visits.
What are abnormal Pap smears?
An abnormal Pap smear is the result of a Pap smear that has detected cellular changes in the cervix. Normal Pap smears show no cell abnormalities, and you don’t have to make any follow-up visits with Dr. Fan. With an abnormal Pap smear, he’ll want to see you again soon.
What happens after an abnormal Pap smear?
Dr. Fan performs additional tests after your abnormal Pap smear to discover the underlying cause of the cellular changes. The first test is called colposcopy and involves the use of a magnifying lens called a colposcope. Dr. Fan uses the colposcope to get a magnified view of your cervix.
During colposcopy, Dr. Fan places acetic acid on the surface of your cervix. This causes the abnormal cells to turn white so that they’re easier to examine. He might also collect a biopsy, or cell sample, from your cervix during the colposcopy, which needs further testing in a lab.
What are my options for treatment after an abnormal Pap smear?
Once you have the results of your Pap smear, colposcopy, and possible biopsy test, Dr. Fan explains what the abnormal cell changes in your cervix indicate. Treatment, if you need it, depends on the underlying cause. Low-grade changes generally don’t need treatment, but Dr. Fan continues evaluating you for new developments.
For moderate and high-grade cervical cell changes, Dr. Fan might recommend one of these treatments:
Loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP)
After applying a vinegar solution to your cervix using a colposcope for viewing, Dr. Fan uses an electrically charged wire loop to remove tissue layers containing abnormal cells. You get anesthesia injections before your LEEP procedure.
Cold knife conization
During cold knife conization, Dr. Fan cuts cone-shaped pieces of tissue out of your cervix to remove abnormal cells. Pathologists examine the cone-shaped samples and can use them to diagnose cervical conditions.
An abnormal Pap smear isn’t automatically bad news. For your next Pap smear, schedule your appointment by calling the office of Yuan-Da Fan, MD, or booking one online today.