Pap Smear (cont.)

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

How is the final Pap smear diagnosis made?

Reader Stories

The final Pap smear diagnosis is based on three determining factors:

  1. The patient's history: The reader (the person reading the smear) takes into account the woman's history as noted on the lab request by the clinician performing the smear.
  2. Sample adequacy: The reader then decides whether the sample was adequate for interpretation.
  3. The presence or absence of cellular abnormalities: The reader then notes whether cellular abnormalities were seen on the slides. If the appearance of the Pap smear does not seem to coincide with the woman's clinical history, a comment may also be made to that effect.

The final diagnosis is a short statement that summarizes what the reader has found.

What are the possible recommendations for follow-up after a Pap smear?

Once the final diagnosis has been made, the follow-up recommendation informs you what the appropriate next step(s) might be. For example, if the final diagnosis states that the smear was "within normal limits," the appropriate follow-up might be "recommend routine follow-up."

An abnormal Pap smear is one in which the laboratory interprets the cellular changes to be different from those normally seen on a healthy cervix. There are a number of possible follow-up scenarios for an abnormal Pap smear.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/6/2016


Cervical Cancer Pictures Slideshow: Symptoms, Stages and Treatment

Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Pap Smear - Results Question: What was the outcome of your abnormal Pap smear results?
Pap Smear - Testing Question: How often do you get a Pap smear?
Pap Smear - Treatments for Abnormal Smear Question: What treatment(s) did you have for abnormal pap smear?
Pap Smear - Diagnosis Question: Was your Pap smear abnormal, and if so what was the diagnosis?
Pap Smear - Abnormal Diagnosis Question: If your Pap smear was abnormal please share your experience with diagnosis and treatment.