Purpose: The aim was to evaluate the use of liquid-based gel during cytologic follow-up and the effect of liquid-based gel application during speculum examination on satisfactory level of smear.
Methods: A total of 1,999 patients were taken into the study. Patients were divided into two groups as gel-applied group and control group. Age and menopausal status of patients, and the physicians taking the smear (resident or specialist) were recorded. In control group, dry speculum was used for the collection of smear sample. All specimens were evaluated for correlation of the cytopathology, the number of "unsatisfactory" samples, and any secondary diagnoses.
Results: Assessment of smear satisfactoriness revealed that 2.2% (43) of them were unsatisfactory. Unsatisfactory smear ratio was significantly high in gel-applied group. Screening done by residents increased unsatisfactory result risk for about 5.5 times. Evaluation of effect of menopausal status on smear adequency revealed no difference between premenopausal and postmenopausal women.
Conclusion: Cervical smear seems to be more accurate without gel application. Experience of the physician is also important. Water-based gel can be used in some women who experience overt pain during speculum examination, but these patients must be warned about unsatisfactory results and the need of repeat test.