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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.

The procedure should not be performed if you:

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

Arranging the appointment

It is your responsibility to ensure this procedure is done within a few weeks of it being requested. You will probably be asked to ring and make an appointment unless your practice has organised the appointment for you. If for some reason you do not attend the appointment, you must let the doctor that refers you 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.

What happens during the procedure?

  1. First, the doctor will want to check the size and position of your womb. This is done by gently placing two fingers in the vagina, then placing the other hand on the lower part of your abdomen.
  2. The doctor will then insert a speculum into the vagina (similar to when you have a smear test).
  3. A holder is then placed on your cervix to keep it steady while a thin, flexible tube (pipelle) is moved through the cervix into the womb.
  4. The sample is then taken and the speculum will be removed.
  5. The sample will be sent 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 requiring further help, contact your GP or the after-hours service preferred by your practice.

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed May 2016.

Page reference: 27989

Review key: HIPPB-27989