Pap smears are the most effective screening tool for cervical cancer, and when caught early, cervical cancer has a high success rate of being cured. However, we often are asked whether or not a Pap smear is required after a hysterectomy. The answer depends on the type of hysterectomy.
What Is a Pap Smear?
A Pap smear is a simple procedure performed in your gynecologist’s office. During the procedure, your doctor while insert a vaginal speculum, which opens your vagina, the doctor then inserts a small brush and spatula that is used to collect cells from your cervix. These cells are sent to a lab to screen for HPV and cervical cancer. If your first Pap test is normal, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends repeating them every two to three years.
Partial Hysterectomy or Full Hysterectomy?
The sole purpose of a pap smear is to screen for cervical cancer, so the only reason you need a pap smear is for this screening. If you have had a full hysterectomy, in which your entire uterus was removed, your cervix was also removed, and you would no longer need a pap smear. If, however, you had a partial hysterectomy and preserved the cervix, you should continue to have Pap smears.
You Still Need a Pelvic Exam
Even if you have had a total hysterectomy or have reached an age where you no longer need a Pap smear, you should still get an annual pelvic exam from your gynecologist. Because there are no screening tests for ovarian or peritoneal cancer, a pelvic exam is the only screening available.
If you would like to come in for a Well Woman Exam, schedule an appointment with an Ob/Gyn specialist at Huey & Weprin Ob/Gyn. With specialized care and cutting-edge treatments in obstetrics and gynecology, Huey & Weprin Ob/Gyn offers a wide variety of gynecologic and obstetric services from leaders in Ob/Gyn research development. Call 937.771.5100 or fill out the form on this page to schedule an appointment.