What happens when the test is performed?
- The test begins with
a pelvic examination (see page 44).Your doctor might
use a cotton swab to clear extra mucus from the vagina
and cervix.He or she then takes a small rounded
spatula and gently rubs a few cells from the outer
surface of the cervix. The doctor also collects cells by
inserting a small brush into the opening in the center
of the cervix (the cervical os). You might feel some
brief cramping when the cells are being collected, but
otherwise the procedure is painless. The cell samples
are either smeared across a glass slide or shaken loose
into a bottle containing special fluid (a laboratory
technician will transfer the samples to a slide later).
Both a machine and a trained laboratory specialist
examine the sample to check for abnormal cells.