Colposcopy in family practice: pilot studies of pain prophylaxis and patient volume

Fam Pract Res J. 1992 Mar;12(1):91-8.


In a family practice office with volume representative of an average one-person practice, the implementation of colposcopy services was studied. During six months, 257 patients received Papanicolaou (PAP) smears. These patients represented 16.2% of the total 1,585 female patient visits for ages greater than 16. Of the 257 cytology specimens, 10.1% (26) revealed dysplasia or evidence of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), indicating the need for colposcopic examination. Pathology reports of all biopsied cases confirmed the presence of dysplasia or HPV. These results suggest that the average family physician might reasonably anticipate about 100 colposcopy sessions per year, assuming each patient receives a diagnostic and a therapeutic colposcopic evaluation. In the course of colposcopy services in a family practice, 46 patients underwent 67 colposcopic examinations with cervical biopsy and/or cryotherapy in the office. Some patients received nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication 30-60 minutes before the procedure, with selection according to physician preference. All patients rated the pain experienced during the procedure on a 10-point visual-analog scale. Pain scores were significantly lower in those who received medication. Overall, patients tolerated the procedure well and there were no reported complications. Because of the possibility of such factors as the placebo effect influencing these results, a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study will be needed to verify the findings.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Colposcopy*
  • Cryosurgery
  • Curettage
  • Family Practice*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / prevention & control*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Papanicolaou Test
  • Papillomaviridae / isolation & purification
  • Pilot Projects
  • Tumor Virus Infections / diagnosis
  • Uterine Cervical Dysplasia / diagnosis
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / surgery
  • Vaginal Smears


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal