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What is dysplasia?

Dysplasia is atypia in the tissue of the cervix caused by HPV which has the potential of being precancerous. It is diagnosed via colposcopy after an abnormal pap smear. Colposcopy is a procedure performed in the office during which the provider looks closely at the cervix with a scope. Biopsies are typically taken to confirm the diagnosis. Dysplasia may be put into subcategories depending on the degree of atypia:

  • Mild
  • Moderate
  • Severe
  • Carcinoma-in-situ

It is impossible to predict which of the lesions will eventually become cancer if untreated. Over 60% of patients with mild dysplasia will undergo spontaneous resolution over the course of a year. 90% resolve over two years. So it may be appropriate to watch a reliable patient without treating mild dysplasia for 1-2 years. Notably, patients with compromised immune systems should be treated more aggressively. Patients with higher grades of dysplasia are usually treated with simple out patient treatments. These treatments are highly effective for preventing cervical cancer.

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