During a pap smear test, the instruments that are used include a speculum to open the vagina, a plastic spatula, a small brush and a microscope to view the cervical cells. Discover why pap tests should be done annually with help from a physician's assistant in this free video on pap tests.
Pap smear test is a test to screen a woman for cervical cancer. We recommend that it be done annually, and if she has two normals within two years, you can skip every other year testing. They have found that the Human Papilloma virus, or HPV virus, is responsible for causing cervical cancer in middle age women ranging in their thirties to fifties from exposure to the virus in their early teens when they became sexually active. There is now a vaccine for the HPV virus that can be given to these younger women to prevent exposure or infection with HPV virus so that they can avoid cervical cancer and or genital warts in the future. For the pap smear, this is the screening for cervical cancer that we recommend and it involves a speculum which is inserted into the vagina to open up this collapsed cavity so that we can reach the cervix which is at the end of the vaginal cavity. We then use a small plastic spatula or wood spatula to scrape the outside of the cervix and then a small brush that enters the opening or eyes of the cervix to get into cervical cells. These cells are then processed by a pathologist and lab and viewed under the microscope to look for cancerous or pre-cancerous changes and if these are found, we'd recommend a colposcopy or special procedures to remove those cells in hopes that the patient will not develop franks cervical cancer that the cells that were in pre-cancerous stages were removed and therefore reduce their risk of developing full blown cancer.