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High Grade Dysplasia

What Does a HGSIL Pap Smear Result Mean?


Updated June 04, 2014

High grade squamous intraepithelial lesion, or HGSIL for short, is a medical term given to a category of cervical dysplasia detected through a routine Pap smear.

An HGSIL Pap smear result indicates that more defined changes in the size and shape of cervical cells have been detected, which indicates moderate to severe cervical dysplasia. HGSIL is not cervical cancer, yet when left untreated and unmonitored, it can lead to cervical cancer.

Confirming the HGSIL Pap Smear Result

If Pap smear results come back as HGSIL, a colposcopy exam is done to confirm the findings. A colposcopy exam is an in-office procedure that allows a doctor to visually examine the cervix with a lighted instrument called a colposcope. During the exam, the colposcope remains outside of the vagina. It acts like a miscroscope, allowing an in-depth view of the cervix.

During the colposcopy, the doctor may also do a cervical biopsy, a procedure that removes small pieces of cervical tissue. The tissue samples are then sent to a lab for further examination.

Treatment of HGSIL

If cervical biopsy results confirm HGSIL, treatment to remove abnormal cervical tissue is necessary in order to prevent cervical cancer. Possible treatments for HGSIL include:
  • Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP)
    During a LEEP procedure, an electric current is sent through a wire loop. The wire loops acts as knife, removing abnormal cervical cells.

  • Cryotherapy
    Cryotherapy is a technique used to destroy abnormal tissue by freezing it. It is also called crysosurgery.

  • Conization
    Also called a cone biopsy, conization removes a larger, cone-shaped sample of abnormal tissue.

  • Laser Therapy
    During laser therapy, a tiny beam of light is used to destroy abnormal cells.

Follow-Up Care After Treatment

Following up after treatment for cervical dysplasia is absolutely necessary. Cells can become abnormal, despite treatment, requiring even further treatment. Follow-up consists of regular Pap smears and colposcopy exams for an extended period of time.


"Cervical Cancer (PDQ®): Treatment." General Information About Cervical Cancer. 19 APR 2006. National Cancer Institute. 31 March 2008.

"National Cancer Institute Fact Sheet." Lasers in Cancer Treatment: Questions and Answers. 10 AUG 2004. National Cancer Institute. 31 March 2008.

"National Cancer Institute Fact Sheet." The Pap Test: Questions and Answers. 12 FEB 2003. National Cancer Institute. 31 March 2008.
"Tutorials." Colposcopy. 10 July 2004. National Library of Medicine. 31 March 2008.

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