New York City Cone Biopsy
A cone biopsy is a cervical biopsy where a cone-shaped wedge of tissue is removed from the cervix and examined under a microscope. Abnormal tissue that is high in the cervical canal is removed.
A cone biopsy may be done after a Pap test shows moderate to severe cell changes and:
- The abnormal tissue cannot be seen with colposcopy but was found in cells collected from a biopsy of the cervical canal, or the abnormal tissue seen with colposcopy extends high into the cervical canal. A cone biopsy is done to remove and examine the abnormal tissue.
- The abnormal cells found on a Pap test cannot be seen with colposcopy or found in cells collected from a cervical biopsy. The cone biopsy may be used to diagnose the cause of the abnormal cell changes and remove the abnormal tissue at the same time.
- Cervical cancer is suspected based on Pap test results, colposcopy, and cervical biopsy. A cone biopsy can determine the extent, depth, and severity of the cancerous tissue and can guide treatment decisions.
Frequently Asked Questions
How effective is the cone biopsy procedure?
The cone biopsy may remove all of the abnormal tissue. This would mean that no further treatment is needed other than follow-up Pap tests.
The edges of the cervical tissue removed by a cone biopsy may contain abnormal cells, meaning that abnormal tissue may be left in the cervix. The cone biopsy may be repeated to remove the remaining abnormal cells. If follow-up tests show normal cells, then no further treatment may be needed. If abnormal cells remain, you and your doctor may discuss other treatments, such as removal of the uterus (hysterectomy).
The cone biopsy may show cancer that has grown deep into the cervical tissue (cervical cancer). Further treatment, such as surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy, will be recommended.
How long is it normal to bleed after a cone biopsy?
The cervix should heal completely within four to six weeks, but some women make a full recovery as early as three weeks. A vaginal discharge and / or bleeding are usual for some weeks following treatment and are part of the healing process. This should stop or return to ‘normal’ as soon as the cervix is healed.
What can I expect after a cone biopsy?
- Some vaginal bleeding is normal for up to 1 week.
- Some vaginal spotting or discharge (bloody or dark brown) may occur for about 3 weeks.
- Pads should be used instead of tampons for about 3 weeks.
- Sexual intercourse should be avoided for about 3 weeks.
- Douching should not be done.
How effective is a LEEP procedure?
Both the LEEP and cone biopsies are 85-90 percent effective in treating moderate to severely abnormal cells of the cervix. The majority of patients who have abnormal Pap smears and then are treated with a LEEP or cone biopsy subsequently have normal Pap smears.