Your doctor may take a sample, or biopsy,
of abnormal tissue. The majority of warts do not require a biopsy. But a biopsy
may be taken if
genital warts cannot be easily identified with a
physical exam or during a gynecology exam with a lighted magnifying
instrument (colposcopy). A microscopic exam on the biopsied tissue
can help your doctor find out whether
human papillomavirus (HPV) is present.
The biopsy can be done in your doctor's
office or clinic. You may have an injection of a numbing medicine (local anesthetic). This is more likely to be used for biopsies of the outer
genital area on both men and women: this includes the
scrotum, or penis. The injection can be painful. But
local anesthetic is needed when the biopsy is likely to be more painful than
There usually are no complications after a
Why It Is Done
You may have a biopsy if any of the
following are true:
Your doctor is not sure what type of abnormal
tissue is present.
Warts have not responded to
Warts appear unusual.
Findings of a biopsy may include the
No abnormal cells are found, which usually means that an
HPV is not present.
Abnormal cells called koilocytes are found. Koilocytes
are cells that appear hollow or concave when examined under a microscope.
Koilocyte cells collected from the genital or anal areas are abnormal and
indicate infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV).
types of skin lesions also may be found.
Abnormal cervical cell
changes caused by HPV will be managed differently from how genital warts are treated.
What To Think About
Treatment for abnormal cells
includes watchful waiting without treatment, medical treatment, or removal of the abnormal
The decision to do a biopsy will be based on whether
biopsy results are likely to affect treatment.
If a biopsy
confirms male genital, vaginal, or perianal warts, medical treatment is an
Sexual intercourse should be avoided until the biopsy area
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerSarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine Thomas M. Bailey, MD - Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerKirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology Kevin C. Kiley, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology