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Biopsy & local Excision

DURATION: This can vary depending on how many samples are being taken or the size of the area being excised. Usually procedures take just a few minutes. 

ANAESTHESIA/PAIN RELIEF: Local anaesthetic is provided for all procedures unless a patient chooses to be put to sleep with a general anaesthetic. 

RECOVERY TIME: This is dependent on the intensity of your individual procedure, but soreness and bleeding may occur in the week after your biopsy. Wide local excision can necessitate a longer recovery time, with sex, heavy lifting and tampons best avoided for up to 4 weeks. 

SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS: Please attend your appointment in clothing that is comfortable and easy for you to remove. You may be asked to shave any pubic hair covering the affected area prior to the procedure. 

SUITABLE FOR: All women who have a lesion on the vulva, vagina or cervix requiring eith further investigation or treatment. A wide local excision can be helpful in either preventing or diagnosing cervical or vulval cancer. 


There are times when women begin to experience pain or discomfort on their vulval or vaginal skin – which is something that may need to be further explored with the help of a suitable medical specialist such as a gynaecologist. Although these symptoms may seem innocuous, persistent itching, swelling, unusual discharge, noticeable changes in colour or odour and the emergence of lumps may be enough for you to be advised to be considered for a biopsy. 

A biopsy describes a small medical procedure in which small tissue samples may be taken from the vulva, cervix or vagina. These specimens will be sent for further analysis to allow your doctor to form a clear understanding of the causes behind these changes so a formal diagnosis may be made. This will facilitate the initiation of the most effective treatment for your condition.

How is a biopsy performed? 

You will be carefully examined in a gynaecological examination couch and the area causing concern will be carefully assessed. A magnified image maybe utilised using a colposcope. Depending on where the area of concern is identified it may be necessary to pass a vaginal speculum in the vagina to further evaluate the area. Local anaesthetic gels and injections will be used for pain relief to make you as comfortable as possible. The smallest possible amount of tissue will then be removed for analysis. In some cases self dissolving stitches may be placed following this procedure to close a wound. Your results will be communicated to you at the earliest opportunity. 

Wide local excision 

Whereas a biopsy is a procedure that is conducted to determine the cause of the symptoms you may be experiencing, a wide local excision is often used to remove abnormal cells from the vulva vagina or cervix as a treatment to reduce the risk of a patient developing vulval or cervical cancer. In some cases, this procedure may be advised as a way of ruling out the presence of cancer or removing cells that are already known to be cancerous.  

Mr Francis Gardner 

With over 25 years of experience in all areas of Advanced Gynaecology, Mr Francis Gardner has performed thousands of biopsies and wide local excisions on women of all ages. He mixes a professional approach with a friendly and personable bedside manner and is well-known for his commitment to the safety, comfort and satisfaction of all of his patients. To book in for your biopsy or wide local excision with Mr Gardner, get in touch today. 


This is completely your choice. Many women are understandably nervous about undergoing a biopsy as this a procedure which can lead to the identification of a serious health condition. It is important to note that, in many cases, symptoms of pain and discomfort can be attributed to a condition that is much more common and manageable. A biopsy or wide local excision could be important in preventing cancer or detecting it early enough in order for it to be treated effectively.

Biopsies and excisions are very unlikely to be associated with serious complications. Minor wound infections can occur but these are usually easily treated with antibiotics. Minor bleeding after a biopsy can normally be treated effectively with pressure on the area but if this is ineffective then a further stitch may be required. If you are concerned about your wound please contact Mr Gardner’s Team and they can advise appropriately and even arrange an assessment.

In some instances, it is advisable to avoid sexual activity, heavy lifting or the use of tampons after undergoing a biopsy or wide local excision. Following this procedure, you should keep the areas treated as clean as you can buy washing with a shower head, patting this area dry with a towel after bathing. Please avoid baths while the area is healing.

This is a completely natural way to feel, so it may help to discuss these concerns and fears with your partner or friends. When attending your appointment, Mr Gardner will do what he can to put your mind at ease and will answer any questions as concisely and informatively as possible.