Precancerous abnormalities of cervix, vulva and vagina
The Dysplasia Clinic provides comprehensive testing and treatment with the health and wellbeing of the whole woman in mind. The Dysplasia Clinic provides specialist care for women from across Victoria.
Health issues treated
The Dysplasia Clinic sees women who have had an abnormal cervical screening test result or some unusual vaginal bleeding. Dysplasia describes abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix (the neck of the womb at the top of the vagina). These changes might become cancer if they are not monitored or treated.
The Dysplasia Clinic detects and treats abnormal changes in the cervix to prevent these changes becoming cancerous. Information about Dysplasia can be found on this website, and the website for the National Cervical Screening Program.
Very rarely, these cell changes might already be cancer. In this case, the Dysplasia Clinic will refer you to a specialist gynaecological oncologist (cancer doctor specialising in gynaecological cancers).
What we do
Most women attending the Dysplasia Clinic for their first appointment will have an examination called a colposcopy to find and assess any changes to cells on their cervix. A small sample of the cervix, a biopsy, might be taken to assist with diagnosis. The colposcopy and biopsy are safe if you are pregnant and will not hurt your baby.
There are several types of treatment that will remove the abnormal cells, these include: laser ablation, wire loop excision, cone biopsy and radical diathermy.
Information for patients
Your first appointment
After you have been referred to the Dysplasia Clinic by a doctor or nurse, you will receive a letter from the Women’s with an appointment time.
Two to three days prior to your appointment you will receive an SMS reminder of your appointment time and date.
If you are unable to attend your appointment, or need to change the time, please contact the clinic as soon as possible so that we can make another appointment for you.
If you miss two appointments in a row and you would like to make another appointment, you will need a new referral from your doctor or nurse.
Before you come to the clinic
We recommend that you avoid wearing a G string to your clinic appointment as it is possible that you will need to use a sanitary pad after the examination. If you have your period, you may still attend the clinic.
Your examination results
After your examination, your specialist will discuss the findings with you. You should receive a letter about three weeks after your appointment. The letter will tell you if you will need treatment, if you need to come back to the clinic for more tests, or if you should return to your local doctor for another Pap test. Following your visit you will receive a letter from the doctor with our recommendation. Should you require treatment our booking office will write to you to inform you that you have been placed on the waiting list.
Admission for treatment
If you need further treatment, you will receive a letter with a date for admission (a date for coming back to the hospital) for your treatment. You must contact Appointments & Bookings to confirm your admission date. If you do not confirm your admission date, your appointment might be given to someone else. All queries regarding dates for treatment should be made to surgical pre admission nurse for Dysplasia Clinic. You will find the number on your letter from the booking office.
If you miss three appointments in a row, you might be removed from the hospital’s waiting list.
Your treatment might be performed with either local anaesthetic or under general anaesthetic. You will need to stay at the hospital for two to three hours after your treatment and, if you have had a general anaesthetic, you will not be able to drive a car. Contact the Dysplasia Clinic or Women’s Emergency Care if you have any concerns after your treatment.
You will likely have a follow-up appointment at the Dysplasia Clinic that will be four to six months after your treatment. A letter confirming your appointment date will be sent to you two weeks before the scheduled date. It is very important to attend to find out if the treatment has been successful.
What to expect after treatment
You may have a vaginal discharge. It may be pink, blood tinged or dark brown. You may have spotting or bleeding for one to two weeks after treatment. About a week after the treatment it is quite normal to pass a blood clot which might look like a piece of tissue, this is usually followed by a small amount of bleeding.
You may have mild to moderate discomfort similar to period pain. You may take pain relieving paracetamol to relieve this.
Avoid strenuous exercise for three to four weeks, light training can be restarted after one week
Do not have intercourse or use tampons for four weeks following the surgery. This helps with the healing and reduces the risk of bleeding or infection.
Do not soak in a bath, it is preferable to shower or sponge bath for the first two weeks at least.
If any of the following happen please see your local doctor or come to Women's Emergency Care:
- Vaginal bleeding heavier than a period or soaking a maxi pad in one hour (go to Emergency rather than waiting to see your GP).
- Fever above 38 degrees C.
- The vaginal discharge becomes offensive and smelly.
- Severe abdominal pain that is not relieved by paracetamol
Your doctor/GP or community women’s health nurse will need to fax a referral plus your Pap test results to the Women’s before you can come to this clinic
What to bring
A colposcopy is an examination which is recommended after some positive or abnormal cervical screening test results. Your local doctor (GP) will discuss these results with you. After a colposcopy, decisions can be made about whether treatment is needed or not.