Cervical Dysplasia Treatment

Cervical dysplasia is the presence of abnormal cells on your cervix, usually discovered by a routine Pap smear. Doctors use a few different approaches when treating cervical dysplasia. The goal of treatment is to remove abnormal areas of the cervix before they possibly become cancerous. But not all cases of cervical dysplasia require medical treatment.

Close-Up Of Woman Having Test For Sexually Transmitted Disease With Doctor
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Watching and Waiting

For women with mild to moderate cervical dysplasia, "watching and waiting" is often the prescribed treatment. "Watching and waiting" simply means that a Pap smear or colposcopy or biopsy will be performed every 6 to 12 months to monitor the dysplasia. Mild to moderate dysplasia often resolves itself within two years without medical treatment.

A colposcopy uses a microscope to look for the abnormal areas on your cervix that should be sampled and analyzed. It is done much like a Pap smear, but the cervix and vagina are first swabbed with a vinegar or iodine solution. Then the scope is used to look for abnormal areas and samples are removed with small biopsy tools and sent to the lab for analysis.

With a biopsy, cervical dysplasia is grouped into three categories of CIN I (mild dysplasia), CIN II (moderate to marked dysplasia) and CIN III (severe dysplasia to carcinoma in situ). What further treatment is done depends on the category.

Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP)

Sometimes called an LLETZ, a LEEP is a procedure that uses an electrically charged wire loop to remove abnormal cells from the cervix. This type of treatment is typically used in cases of high-grade cervical dysplasia. It is usually done in the doctor's office with local anesthesia. Tissue removed is sent to the lab to confirm the diagnosis.


A conization is a treatment option for some women with high-grade cervical dysplasia. Conization removes a cone-shaped piece of tissue from the cervix. It is also called a cone biopsy and can be used to help diagnose cervical cancer. LEEP is one type of conization, and there is also a cold knife cone biopsy. Both are usually done in the doctor's office with local anesthesia.


Cryosurgery is another method used to treat high-grade cervical dysplasia. It is usually performed in the doctor's office. A cryoprobe is inserted into the vagina onto the cervix. Compressed nitrogen flows into the metal probe, making it cold enough to freeze the tissues it is in contact with. Cryosurgery is also referred to as cryotherapy.

Laser Therapy

Carbon dioxide laser photoablation is another procedure that can be used to destroy the abnormal tissue. It is often done in an outpatient setting and local anesthetic may be used.

Follow-Up After Treatment for Cervical Dysplasia

After being treated for cervical dysplasia, following up with a doctor's recommendation is essential. The doctor will recommend a follow-up plan based on the pathology report from the LEEP or conization.

Common recommendations following treatment is a regular colposcopy and cervical biopsy every 6 to 12 months. Cervical dysplasia can return, so following the doctor's follow-up recommendation is very important.

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By Lisa Fayed
Lisa Fayed is a freelance medical writer, cancer educator and patient advocate.