Treatment options for abnormal Cervical Screening Tests

If an abnormality is found during your colposcopy, further treatment may be required. Your healthcare provider will talk to you about what treatment options are most appropriate for your personal circumstances. Treatment options may include wire loop excision, laser or cone biopsy. The following sections provide a short explanation of each of these treatment options, including care after treatment and the risks of treatment

For more information, visit the treatment for abnormal cells web page.


Wire loop excision

Also known as a Large Loop Excision of Transformation Zone (LLETZ). This method removes the abnormal cells with a wire loop. Immediately after the cells are removed, heat is used to stop any bleeding.

Most procedures take about 15 to 30 minutes and can be performed under a local anaesthetic in a clinic setting or you can request a general anaesthetic in a day surgery. After your procedure you should be able to return to normal activities within two to three days.


This method removes the abnormal cells are using heat from a laser beam. A speculum is inserted to open the vagina and allow the cervix to be clearly seen. A local anaesthetic is used and a solution is applied to make the abnormal cells easier to see.

Most procedures take about 20 to 30 minutes and can be performed at your specialist’s room, hospital or clinic under local anaesthetic. If a general anaesthetic is used, you will be required to stay overnight in a hospital or day surgery. After your procedure you should be able to return to normal activities within a few days of treatment.

Cone biopsy

In this minor operation, a cone-shaped section of the cervix containing the abnormal cells is removed. This treatment option is recommended if abnormal cells are higher in the cervical canal and/or affect the glandular cells or to remove potentially cancerous cells.

As this procedure uses a general anaesthetic, you will be required to be admitted into hospital for day surgery or overnight. After a cone biopsy, it is recommended that you avoid heavy physical work and take things easy for a few days.

Care after treatment

Some women experience cramps and abdominal pain for a day or two after treatment. It is also quite normal to have a vaginal discharge that may be clear or blood-stained.

A light, bloody discharge may continue for two to four weeks after treatment, and occasionally longer. If the discharge becomes smelly or turns to heavy bleeding, you should contact your treating specialist.

If you develop a fever or pain in the lower abdomen you should contact your doctor. This may indicate an infection.

For three to four weeks after treatment, you are advised to avoid sex to allow your cervix to heal.

Risks of treatment

Some of these procedures can weaken your cervix which may cause problems during pregnancy. If you are considering becoming pregnant, or are pregnant, and have previously had treatment, let your doctor, obstetrician or midwife know as you will need to have special check-ups during your pregnancy.

^ Back to top