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Colposcopy is a test to look at the vagina and cervix through a lighted magnifying tool (colposcope).
The colposcope magnifies the view 2 to 60 times so the doctor can see any problems that would be missed by the naked eye. A camera can be hooked to the colposcope to take pictures or videos of the vagina and cervix for a permanent record.
The doctor may put vinegar (acetic acid) and sometimes iodine (Lugol's solution) on the vagina and cervix with a swab or cotton balls to see areas of abnormal cells more clearly. Samples of the abnormal cells (biopsies) can be collected and looked at under a microscope.
Last Revised: December 28, 2011
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
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