Marble Surface

Cone Biopsy 

Treatment of the abnormal cervical cells


Why/ When is it done?

When the smear results show abnormal in glandular cells.
We suspect abnormal cells are present which cannot be seen at colposcopy.
Early cancer is possible
Smear test continues to be abnormal despite normal examination.

How is it done?

Cone biopsy is an operation under general anaesthetic, where a cone-shaped or cylindrical section of the neck of the womb containing the abnormal cells is removed.  A scalpel (cold knife) is used.

A day or overnight stay in hospital may be required.  Before you are discharged it is important to have:

passed urine
Tolerating fluids and food
Ensure your bleeding (on the pad) has settled
Any packs or IV lines will be removed.

What to expect afterwards?

You will recover in hospital for 3 hours or sometimes overnight.  All women have some vaginal bleeding/ discharge afterwards.

This may continue up to 6 weeks and gradually decrease to a blood stained discharge.  Some women also have lower abdominal cramping in the first four days.  Paracetamol can help this.  

Avoid heavy physical lifting, strenuous activity and take things easy for several days.  If you have a cone biopsy and later become pregnant, you must tell your GP or your Lead Maternity Carer (LMC) who will organise an early ultrasound scan to check the length of your you cervix.  Cervical length in pregnancy is usually start from 14 weeks until 24 weeks pregnant on a fortnightly basis.

Do not drive for 24 hours after surgery.  We recommend that you remain off work for one day after surgery.

To reduce infection risk:

Avoid sex for 6 weeks.
Use pads not tampons for 6 weeks
Shower instead of bathing for 6 weeks
No swimming or spa pools for 6 weeks

Possible complications:

Haemorrhage (excessive bleeding)
Cervical stenosis (narrowing)
Rarely, an increased chance of preterm labour in future pregnancies.
Rarely damage to the bowel and bladder may occur.

Follow up:

You will be sent an appointment for follow up smear and colposcopy in 6 months (or earlier if needed) at the colposcopy clinic.  The results from your cone biopsy will be available in 2 to 4 weeks.

Please contact the clinic if you have:

  • Bleeding is heavier than your normal period.

  • Fever greater than 38 degree Celsius

  • Lower abdominal pain

  • Flu like symptoms

  • An unpleasant smelling discharge (indicating an infection)

  • Any concerns you have about your treatment.

Cone biopsy patient information