- Take the Menopause Quiz
- Disease Prevention in Women Slideshow Pictures
- Surprising Health Benefits of Sex Slideshow
- Patient Comments: Pap Smear - Results
- Patient Comments: Pap Smear - Testing
- Find a local Obstetrician-Gynecologist in your town
- Pap smear facts
- What is a Pap smear procedure?
- Who should have a Pap smear?
- What are the risks of having a Pap smear?
- What kind of doctor performs a Pap test?
- How is a Pap smear done?
- How will I find out the results of my Pap smear?
- What is an abnormal Pap smear?
- How is a Pap smear read (analyzed)?
- What information is included on a Pap smear report?
- Why is a woman's menstrual status important for the Pap smear?
- What are risk factors for cervical cancer and precancer?
- Why is a woman's past Pap smear history pertinent?
- When might a Pap smear not be adequate for interpretation?
- How is the final Pap smear diagnosis made?
- What are the possible recommendations for follow-up after a Pap smear?
- What treatments are available if a Pap smear is abnormal?
- What is the current status of human papilloma virus (HPV) testing?
- With Pap smears so available, why are women still dying of cervical cancer?
Quick GuideCervical Cancer Pictures Slideshow: Symptoms, Stages and Treatment
How is the final Pap smear diagnosis made?
The final Pap smear diagnosis is based on three determining factors:
- 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.
- Sample adequacy: The reader then decides whether the sample was adequate for interpretation.
- 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.