In the past, when Julie McClaren recommended a colposcopy to her patients, she had to refer them to another health-care provider. Now she can perform the procedure herself.
McClaren is an advanced registered nurse practitioner who recently completed a comprehensive colposcopy course at Atlanta, Ga. She practices at the Women’s Health Center, which is owned and operated by St. Rose Ambulatory & Surgery Center.
A colposcopy is ordered when a woman’s Pap test results are abnormal.
"This is the next step in making a diagnosis when abnormal cells are indicated," McClaren said. "The colposcope takes a closer look at the vagina and cervix with a higher magnification."
St. Rose recently purchased a new colposcope, called an Olympus OCS 500.
"The patient can watch the procedure on the monitor if she wants," McClaren said. "But, of course, she doesn’t have to. We can also take pictures of what we are seeing, which is invaluable for our pathology lab. We can document what we see."
A colposcopy can detect any type of abnormal lesion that cannot be seen with the naked eye. "When we apply acetic acid to the cervix, a lesion that had not been visible before will show up," McClaren explained. "It could be a high-grade lesion, a low-grade lesion or maybe cancer. The main reason for a colposcopy is to prevent an invasive stage of cancer.
"The colposcope also will show tissues that are forming abnormally and atypical blood vessels," she added. "We can take a biopsy of a lesion, blood vessel or tissue."
In addition, McClaren can perform an endo-cervical curettage, which is the removal of cells from inside the cervix. "That is where most lesions begin," she noted.
A colposcopy takes about 30 minutes and an over-the-counter pain medication is recommended to alleviate discomfort.
McClaren said she was eager to take the colposcopy training to expand her range of services at the Women’s Health Center. She shares offices with Maxine Lingurar, M.D., and Central Kansas Surgical Care surgeons, Tatiana Kovtoun, M.D., and Thomas Wilder, M.D., FACS.
"We are in the process of adding even more options in upcoming weeks and months for our patients," McClaren said. "Our goal is to serve as many healthcare needs as possible right here at St. Rose."