How is cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) diagnosed?

Since CIN usually does not cause any symptoms, a Pap smear is needed to find abnormal cells. If the Pap test is unclear or abnormalities are found, the next step might be a colposcopy to examine the cervix and surrounding structures under a microscope.

The procedure can be performed in a doctor’s office, where a set of binoculars with a light (a colposcope) is focused on the cervix. The doctor will look through colored lenses to see whether there are any abnormal cells on the cervix or vaginal walls.

A biopsy may be performed to remove tissue samples for examination in a laboratory. A DNA test may be ordered to see whether a high-risk form of HPV is present.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/07/2014.


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