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HealthInfo Canterbury

Pipelle biopsy

Your GP has recommended that you have a pipelle biopsy. This is a short procedure that takes a sample of cells from the lining of your womb.

If your GP does not perform this procedure, they will refer you to another GP who does. They will do this by writing a letter to the GP, including copies of any relevant previous tests that have been done.

You should not have this procedure if you:

Please tell your GP if you have or develop any of the conditions listed above.

Arranging the appointment

You should ideally have the procedure within a few weeks of it being requested. If for some reason you do not receive an appointment or cannot attend the appointment given to you, please let your doctor know.

The pipelle biopsy procedure

Before the procedure

It's a good idea to take an anti-inflammatory pain relief tablet such as ibuprofen (Nurofen) or diclofenac (Voltaren) one to two hours before your appointment. If you can't safely take these medicines, take some paracetamol instead.

You should arrange to have someone you can call to come and collect you in case you feel too unwell to drive, although this is very unlikely. You might like to arrange a support person to come with you.

During the procedure

  1. First, the doctor will want to check the size and position of your womb. They will do this by gently placing two fingers in your vagina then placing the other hand on the lower part of your abdomen.
  2. The doctor will insert a speculum into your vagina (similar to when you have a smear test).
  3. They will place a holder on your cervix to keep it steady while a thin, flexible tube (pipelle) is moved through the cervix into your womb.
  4. They will take the sample then remove the speculum.
  5. They will send the sample to the laboratory.

You may feel some cramping during the procedure.

After the procedure

You may experience some spot bleeding for a few days after the procedure – please bring a pad with you.

Rarely, women can feel light-headed and nauseous. If this happens, it normally only lasts a short time. This is why we recommend you organise someone who could collect you if you don't feel well enough to drive.

There is a very small risk of pelvic infection from the procedure. While you may experience pelvic discomfort for a short time after the procedure, please report any pelvic pain, or abnormal discharge that occurs more than 48 hours afterwards.

The test results

Your GP will be sent a copy of your test results about one week after the procedure is performed. Please contact your GP if you are not told of the test results within two weeks.

If you have any problems that need further help, contact your GP or the after-hours service preferred by your practice.

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed April 2019.

Page reference: 27989

Review key: HIPPB-27989