Liquid-based collection methods for cervical cell evaluation

Liquid-based methods for collecting cervical cells and preparing them for laboratory evaluation are now available.

A sample of cervical cells is collected during a Pap test, and the cells are then rinsed in a liquid vial instead of being smeared on slides. The vials are taken to the laboratory, and a thin layer of the specimen is put on slides for microscopic examination. Only a small portion of the sample is used for the slide, so the remainder of the cell sample can be used for any additional testing, such as a human papillomavirus (HPV) test.

Some studies show that this method may be more sensitive in identifying abnormal cervical cell changes. However, these methods can produce false-positive results just like standard Pap tests. Not all laboratories provide this testing, but liquid-based methods are becoming more widely used. These methods cost more than standard Pap testing.

Last Updated: January 5, 2009

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