Many abnormal pap smears are the result of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). HPV is a very common virus that is considered to be the most common cause of pre-cancer, or cancer of the cervix. Generally, women usually clear the virus from their body over time.

An abnormal pap smear can be a result of an inflammation or noticeable changes with HPV. There are three grades of abnormal pap smears (CIN 1–3) which vary from minor to significant changes.

Abnormal pap smears results

  • Minor change, also known as low grade SIL (squamous intraepithelial lesion), includes CIN 1 or minor dysplasia (abnormal development or growth of tissues).
  • Significant changes, also known as high grade SIL (squamous intraepithelial lesion) is the presence of a more significant change leading to pre-cancer. Changes on the pap smear include CIN 2 and CIN 3 or moderate to severe dysplasia.

Pap smear follow up and procedures

Michael has extensive experience in the treatment and management of abnormal pap smears. In your consultation with Michael, he will advise you with the best approach and follow up for your circumstance.

  • Conservative management – follow up in 6–12 months may be all that is necessary if the changes are minor (low grade SIL).
  • Colposcopy – is the first procedure after diagnosis of an abnormal pap smear of low to high grade SIL. In this procedure, a speculum is inserted into the vagina, and the cervix is visualised by an external colposcope (telescope). If an abnormal area is identified, a biopsy (small tissue sample) may be retrieve for analysis by a pathologist. To find out more about colposcopy, visit .
  • Ablation – laser, diathermy or cryosurgery can be used on the abnormal area. This process is normally used for low grade SIL.
  • Excision – wire loop excision removes the abnormal area. An analysis by a pathologist will determine if the excision is complete. This procedure is generally used for high grade SIL.