Abnormal Pap & Dysplasia

David Martin, MD -  - Board Certified Obstetrics & Gynecology

Knoxville Gynecologic Cancer Specialists

David Martin, MD

Board Certified Obstetrics & Gynecology & Gynecologic Oncologist located in Knoxville, TN

Cancer is often insidious, developing and progressing without symptoms or signs. A few reproductive cancers, however, do offer an early warning, if you know where to look. At Knoxville Gynecologic Cancer Specialists, David Martin, MD, and his team offer Pap tests and close monitoring of genital dysplasia, helping women in Knoxville, Tennessee, stay one step ahead of cancer. To learn more, call the office or use the online scheduling tool.

Abnormal Pap & Dysplasia Q & A

What is genital dysplasia?

Dysplasia is a term used to describe the presence of cells in your tissue that are abnormal, and potentially cancerous. When it comes to your genital health, there are three types of genital dysplasia:

  • Vaginal intraepithelial neoplasia (VAIN)
  • Vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia (VIN)
  • Cervical dysplasia

Most genital dysplasia is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is an extremely common sexually transmitted disease. While most women who have HPV don’t require treatment (in fact, many women are unaware they have the infection), if you’re infected by certain strains of the virus, it can cause abnormal cells to develop. These cells aren’t necessarily dangerous, but they can turn into precancerous and cancerous cells if left unchecked.

Thankfully, most dysplasia doesn’t lead to cancer, especially if you seek medical intervention at Knoxville Gynecologic Cancer Specialists early on.

How is genital dysplasia diagnosed?

No matter the location of the dysplasia, the condition generally doesn’t produce any outward symptoms that would make you aware of the condition, which is where vigilant testing comes in.

For cervical dysplasia, your first line of defense is your regular Pap test. This painless swab of your cervix allows the doctor to routinely check for abnormal cell changes. If your test comes back positive for abnormal cells, you’ll likely undergo more frequent testing. If your results continue to show the presence of abnormal cell changes, Dr. Martin performs a colposcopy to take a closer look at your cervix, and he may remove a tissue sample for biopsy at the same time.

For VIN and VAIN, there are no regular testing procedures to detect these uncommon conditions. But if you have a history of cervical dysplasia and cervical cancer, Dr. Martin keeps a close watch to detect any developing dysplasia.

How is genital dysplasia treated?

If Dr. Martin finds abnormal cells in the tissue in your genitalia, this isn’t cause for alarm, but it does mean that the doctor will monitor the condition closely through frequent testing. If your dysplasia persists — often for more than two years — Dr. Martin will likely treat or remove the affected tissue through:

  • Topical medications
  • Laser ablation of the affected tissue
  • Excision of the tissue
  • Loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP)

The goal of these procedures is to remove all of the abnormal cells before they have a chance to evolve into cancerous cells.

Early detection is key when it comes to genital dysplasia, so call Knoxville Gynecologic Cancer Specialists to get started. Or use the online scheduling tool.