A pap smear is used to collect cells along the surface of the cervix. The cells are tested to determine if any abnormalities are present. Abnormal cell growth can indicate any number of conditions, including infections and cervical cancer. A Pap smear can also show the presence of the HPV or human papillomavirus. This virus, if left untreated, can eventually lead to cervical dysplasia and cervical cancer. If a pap smear comes back positive for abnormalities, the doctor may do a repeat test to make sure the results are accurate. If they are, more tests will be taken to determine the cause of the abnormal cells.
Doctors recommend getting a pap smear once a year. The only time that recommendation changes is if the patient has recently had an abnormal pap smear that resulted in cervical dysplasia or cancer. Women who have had their cervix removed no longer need to receive pap smears on a yearly basis. Most insurance companies realize the benefits of getting yearly pap smears and will pay for one per year. In most cases, conditions that are found by pap smears are relatively slow growing, so getting more than one a year isn’t necessary.
Women who have gone through menopause naturally and still have all of their organs, including their cervix, should continue to receive pap smears each year. Even though they are no longer having periods, the cervix will still show any abnormal cells that may be present. Women who have had a partial hysterectomy, in which only the uterus and fallopian tubes were removed, will also need to continue receiving pap smears. A woman who has had a complete hysterectomy, in which the cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries have been removed, will no longer need to get pap smears. Once the cervix has been removed, there are no cells that can be checked through the pap smear testing process.
We accept several insurance plans from many different providers. If you do not see your provider listed here, please give us a call and we will let you know if you are covered.
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