Abnormal Pap Smears

Understanding Abnormal Pap Smear Results

What Do Normal and Abnormal Pap Smear Results Mean?

There are several possible results you can receive from your Pap smear test. The results will reveal if the sample was viable and able to be tested and whether anything abnormal were detected.

Samples are described in the report as satisfactory, suboptimal, or unsatisfactory. If the sample taken was unable to be tested, the test will be repeated.

If your results stated “normal”, then no abnormal changes were detected.

Abnormal Pap Smears

When Pap smear results results come back abnormal, then there are three categories that describe why it was found to be abnormal.

Atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance
  • LGSIL:
  • Low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions
  • HGSIL:
  • High-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions

    Abnormal Pap Smear Results Explained


    If you have received an ASCUS pap, it means that abnormal cells were detected on the cervix. This can be a result of an infection as well, so it is important to follow up with your physician.

    LGSIL: (Also called CIN I) mild dysplasia has been detected. Also includes cell changes caused by HPV(Human papillomavirus)

    HGSIL: This type of result is divided into two categories:
    • Moderate Dysplasia:
    (also called CIN II) abnormal cells make up ½ of the thickness surface lining

  • Severe Dysplasia:
  • (also called CIN III, or carcinoma in situ) the entire thickness of the epithelium (surface cell layer) is composed of abnormal cells but cells have not spread below the surface

    To learn more about cervical cancer, please see:

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