The colposcopically directed punch biopsy has been an integral component of colposcopic practice. In light of the changing landscape of the cervical screening programme, a study was conducted to investigate the current practice of British Society of Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology–accredited colposcopists on technique and rationale for performing a punch biopsy.
Materials and Methods
A web-based questionnaire survey was e-mailed to all British Society of Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology–accredited colposcopists. Questions included selection criteria for performing a punch biopsy, number of biopsies, and technique. Results were analyzed by specialty, experience, and workload.
A total of 749 colposcopists responded, 50.2% of the 1,493 total. The respondents were obstetrician and gynecologists (42.9%), gynecologists/oncologists (33.6%), and nurse colposcopists (19.8%). Most colposcopists (78.3%) had more than 5-year colposcopy experience and saw in excess of 11 new cases (73.4%) of abnormal cervical cytology/month. Most colposcopists (56%) aimed to take 2 biopsies to diagnose cervical intraepithelial neoplasia, and very few (16.2%) reported routinely taking random biopsies from normal areas of cervix. Looking at the trends in management in the case scenarios, there was a lower threshold for performing punch biopsy before large loop excision of the transformation zone in younger (age, <25 years) or nulliparous women versus older women (age, >40 years; p < .05). Colposcopists were more likely to take biopsies in women with low-grade cytology/colposcopic findings (71.2%, always or most of the times) as compared with high-grade cytology/colposcopic findings (40.3%, never or rarely).
Colposcopically directed punch biopsy is routinely used by colposcopists; however, techniques, number of biopsies taken, and rationale for performing a biopsy vary greatly between colposcopists.