Conization of the Cervix

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What is conization of the cervix?

Conization of the cervix is an operation to remove abnormal tissue from the cervix. The cervix is the lower, cone-shaped part of the uterus. The uterus is a muscular organ at the top of the vagina where menstruation begins and babies grow.

When is it used?

This procedure is done for the following reasons:

  • To remove cancerous or precancerous cells on the cervix.
  • To further diagnose cancer.
  • To treat chronic cervicitis (inflammation of the cervix).
  • To try to answer questions not answered by a colposcopy (Your health care provider may not have been able to see all the problem tissue with a colposcope).
  • To better understand the results of a Pap test.

Depending on your initial diagnosis, examples of alternatives include:

  • Cryosurgery (destruction of cervical tissue by exposure to very cold temperatures).
  • Loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP).
  • Interferon medicine.
  • Removal of the whole uterus and cervix.
  • Other forms of cancer treatment if you have cancer.

You should ask your physician about these choices and which choice might be right for you before settling on this particular procedure.

What are the benefits?

The abnormal tissue in the cervix is removed. This may decrease the risk of developing cancer, and it may help us make a better diagnosis and determine the best treatment for your problem.

What are the risks associated with this procedure?

As with any medical procedure, there are risks involved. There are some risks when you have general anesthesia. For more information about the risks associated with this procedure and the use of general anesthetic, please don’t hesitate to ask.

How do I prepare for operative conization of the cervix?

Be sure to make sure your medical records are updated with any allergies, and let us know if you have ever had an allergic reaction to an anesthetic.

Please refrain from smoking before and after the procedure. Smokers heal more slowly after surgery, and they are also more likely to have breathing problems during surgery. For this reason, if you are a smoker, you should quit at least 2 weeks before the procedure. It is best to quit 6 to 8 weeks before surgery. Also, your wounds will heal much better if you do not smoke after surgery.

Follow any other instructions your provider gives you. If you are to have general anesthesia, eat a light meal, such as soup or salad, the night before midnight. Do not eat after midnight.  Do not even drink coffee, tea, or water.

What happens after the procedure?

You may go home later in the day or you may stay overnight in the hospital. This will depend on how much tissue was removed, how fast you recover from the anesthetic, and how much bleeding you have.


Create a plan for your care and recovery after the operation, and allow plenty of time to rest. Try to find other people to help you with your day-to-day duties.

You should avoid heavy lifting, tampons, douching, and sexual intercourse for 4 weeks after the procedure. Ask your physician what other steps you should take and when you should come back for a checkup.

When should I call Greenville OB/GYN?

Call our emergency number at any time if:

  • You have a fever over 100 F (37.8 C).
  • You start to bleed again.
  • You have a lot of pain.
  • You have a vaginal discharge with a bad odor.

Call during regular office hours if:

  • You have questions about the procedure or its result.
  • You want to make another appointment.

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