Cone Biopsy

Cone Biopsy and the Cervix

Woman holding belly
BLDM/Cultura/Getty Images

A cone biopsy is surgery to remove a cone-shaped piece of tissue from the cervix and cervical canal. Cone biopsy may be used to diagnose or treat a cervical condition. It is also called conization.

What is the Cervix?

The cervix is the lower, narrow end of the uterus (the organ where a fetus grows). The cervix leads from the uterus to the vagina (birth canal).

Types of Cervical Cancer

The main types of cervical cancer are squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma.

Squamous cell carcinoma begins in the thin, flat cells that line the cervix. Adenocarcinoma begins in cervical cells that make mucus and other fluids.

Long-lasting infections with certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV) cause almost all cases of cervical cancer. Vaccines that protect against infection with these types of HPV can greatly reduce the risk of cervical cancer. Having a Pap test to check for abnormal cells in the cervix or a test to check for HPV can find cells that may become cervical cancer. These cells can be treated before cancer forms.

Cervical cancer can usually be cured if it is found and treated in the early stages.

Why is a cone biopsy performed?

A cone biopsy is done if a pap smear or colposcopy indicated moderate to severe cell changes. It is also done to remove abnormal tissue as part of treatment. It can also be used to diagnose cervical cancer and to see how extensive the disease is.

How is the tissue removed?

The abnormal can be removed by three ways. 1) Surgical scalpel. 2) LEEP (Loop electrosurgical excision procedure. 3) Carbon dioxide laser.

Will I be asleep?

You will be given some type of anesthesia. Your doctor will discuss what anesthesia will be best for you. Regardless, you may be asked to avoid food for at least 12 hours prior to the surgery.


Risk with a cone biopsy is minimal. There is a very low risk that excessive bleeding will occur that requires a transfusion. Narrowing of the cervix may occur, causing infertility. An incompetent cervix may result, making miscarriages more likely in pregnancy.

What can I expect after the surgery?

After a cone biopsy, you can expect bleeding for up to a week and spotting and discharge for up to three weeks. Avoid tampons and sexual intercourse for three weeks also. Nothing in the vagina is the general rule of thumb.

When should you call the doctor?

You need to call your doctor persistent pelvic pain, heavy bleeding or a foul smelling discharge. Also, watch out for a fever, which can indicate infection.

National Cancer Institute.

Continue Reading