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A cone biopsy is performed to investigate abnormal cells in your cervix.

This procedure may be recommended if your consultant is not able to clearly view the suspect area of your cervix using colposcopy.

What happens during cone biopsy?

A cone biopsy is usually done as an outpatient meaning you can usually go home the day of your procedure. It may be performed under general or local anaesthetic.

You will be asked to prepare and position yourself as you would if you were having a cervical smear. Your consultant will gently insert a speculum into your vagina to hold your vaginal walls apart.

A small cone shaped area of tissue will be removed from your cervix and sent to a laboratory for analysis. There are several ways your surgeon may remove this tissue:

  • Scalpel (surgical knife)
  • Laser
  • Fine wire loop heated with electric current

They may insert gauze into your vagina to stop any bleeding. This will be removed before you leave hospital.

You will need to remain in hospital until the effects of any anaesthetic have worn off.

Going home after cone biopsy

You will not be able to drive so please arrange for someone to take you home when you are discharged.

It is normal to experience slight vaginal bleeding for up to 4 weeks after your cone biopsy. You should wear a sanitary towel (not a tampon) during this recovery time.

Take over the counter pain relief if needed.

You may need to return to our outpatient department for follow-up visits. Your surgeon will advise you of the results of your biopsy and any additional treatments needed.

Most people make a good recovery from cone biopsy. As with any procedure there may be complications.


General complications may include:

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection

Specific complications of cone biopsy may include:

  • Period-like pain
  • Light vaginal bleeding
  • Pregnancy problems (slight risk of miscarriage)
  • Problems with healing of the cervix

Why not print this treatment page so you can discuss any concerns you have with your surgeon?

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