What is a cervical polypectomy?

Your doctor or nurse has advised you to have a polypectomy, which is the removal of a polyp. A polyp is a flesh-like structure (often described as looking like a cherry on a stalk or a skin tag). This can develop in many places in the body, including the cervix (neck of the womb) and uterus (womb). It may have blood vessels running through it, which can often be the cause of bleeding.

The benefit of this procedure is to remove the polyp and send it to the laboratory for examination to exclude any serious abnormalities.

How is a cervical polypectomy done?

A polyp is usually easily removed at an out-patient clinic and normally does not cause any pain during removal. If the polyp is on your cervix this may be able to be removed during your out-patient appointment using polyp forceps.

You will be asked to undress from the waist down and to lie on a couch. Once you are comfortable, a speculum (a smooth, tube-shaped tool) will be inserted into your vagina, to allow us to see your cervix. It is is just like having a smear test. The polyp forceps are then used to gently twist the polyp off.

We are aware you may find these treatments embarrassing. We will do our best to support you and will make every effort to ensure your privacy and dignity is maintained at all times.

If the polyp is broad-based (flat), you will need to undergo laser and loop diathermy of the cervix for it to be removed. This procedure is where a heated wire loop is used to shave the polyp off. A local anaesthetic is injected into the cervix to numb the area. The doctor or nurse will explain this procedure to you and book you another out-patient appointment so the treatment can be carried out.

Before your cervical polypectomy

If you think you might have your period on the day of your appointment, you should call the clinic to arrange a different time. Otherwise, there are no special preparations for having a polypectomy. You can eat and drink as normal.

After your cervical polypectomy

You can carry out your day-to-day activities as normal following the procedure. If you get a smelly discharge or heavy bleeding, please arrange to see your GP as you may have an infection. We also suggest that you avoid heavy exercise, sex, long soaks in the bath and bubble baths and using tampons until your discharge has stopped.

You may have some cramping pains for a few hours after the procedure. Please take your usual painkillers for this, following the dosage instructions.

Alternatives to having a cervical polypectomy

You can choose not to have the procedure if you feel you can cope with the symptoms the polyp may be causing (if any). However, the polyp may become bigger and cause you to have abnormal bleeding. Most polyps are benign (not harmful) but very rarely they could contain abnormal cells.