Cone Biopsy

A cone biopsy is a quick outpatient surgery used to find and treat a problem in the cervix. Your doctor may do a cone biopsy if one or more Pap tests and a colposcopy (microscope) exam showed abnormal cells on your cervix. A cone biopsy takes less than an hour, and you’ll be able to go home the same day. The most common type of cone biopsy is the loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP). A wire with electric current is used to take the biopsy.

Image of cutting tissue
A cone-shaped piece of tissue is cut from the cervix. This removes the abnormal cells. The tissue that grows back is usually normal.

Preparing for a Cone Biopsy

If you will be given general anesthesia, do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before surgery. Follow your doctor’s instructions. You’ll also need to have an adult friend or family member drive you home after the procedure. On the day of surgery, be sure to arrive at the hospital or surgery center in time to sign in and get ready for your procedure.

Your Surgery

  • You’ll be given anesthesia before your biopsy to keep you comfortable during surgery.
  • Your doctor then puts a thin metal tube (speculum) into the vagina to hold it open. This allows your doctor to see the cervix.
  • Then a cone-shaped piece of tissue is removed from the cervix. The tissue is cut from the opening up into the canal. This may be done with a small knife or with a laser.
  • The tissue that is removed is then sent to the lab. The lab studies the tissue and makes sure the abnormal cells have been cut away. New tissue grows back in the cervix in 4 to 6 weeks.

Your doctor will discuss the risks and possible complications of cone biopsy with you. These include:

  • Incomplete removal of abnormal tissue
  • Severe bleeding
  • Infection
  • Weakening or scarring of the cervix