A cone biopsy is a surgical procedure that is used to check cervical tissues for the presence of cancerous cells. More extensive than other types of cervical biopsies, cone biopsies are used to evaluate areas in the highest section of the cervical canal. This type of diagnostic test is typically recommended if a patient’s Pap test indicates moderate to extensive cellular changes that require further investigation and the cells in question could not be reached through a traditional cervical biopsy.
During a cone biopsy, a cone-shaped wedge of tissue is removed from the cervix, along with a small amount (margin) of nearby tissue that is presumed to be healthy. Several different tools can be used to remove the tissue, including:
- A sharp blade (scalpel)
- A thin wire loop that carries an electrical current
- A carbon dioxide laser
Once the suspicious tissues have been removed, they are sent to a pathology lab, where they are carefully examined beneath a microscope.
A cone biopsy is an outpatient procedure, and no special preparation is required for the patient. Before the tissues are removed, medications are administered to numb the cervix. After a short period of observation (one to four hours), patients can typically return home, although they will have a list of special instructions to follow during their recovery. In most cases, the results of a cone biopsy are available within one to two weeks.
At Moffitt Cancer Center, we perform a number of advanced diagnostic procedures for cervical cancer, including traditional and cone biopsies. Patients are welcome to make appointments at Moffitt with or without referrals, and our team will help determine which tests are most appropriate for their unique needs.