Vaginal Pap Smears

Vaginal Pap smears are taken for two main reasons: 1) to screen for vaginal dysplasia in a patient who has had a hysterectomy and, 2) for assessing the maturation index (M.I.) of the vaginal mucosa (the M.I. is a qualitative measure of the patient’s hormonal mileu, and may aid in detecting hormonal deficiencies).

There are two methods for collecting specimens from the vagina: the conventional smear technique and collection of the specimen in a liquid fixative (Thin Prep method).

The Conventional Method when Screening for Dysplasia

  1. Use the spatula provided in the Calpath Pap smear kit. Do not use the brush.
  2. Scrape the vagina circumferentially with the spatula.
  3. Transfer the material collected on the spatula onto the glass slide, and fix promptly with the cytology fixative.
  4. Label the slide with the patient’s name.

Thin Prep Method when Screening for Dysplasia

  1. Collect the specimen in the usual way, using a plastic spatula.
  2. Immediately rinse the spatula in the PreservCyt Solution vial by swirling the spatula vigorously in the vial about 10 times.
  3. Remove the spatula and close the container securely.
  4. Write the patient’s name and physician’s name on the specimen container.

Collection of Specimen when Requesting a Maturation Index (M.I.)

  1. The M.I. test can only be performed on a vaginal smear. Do not submit a cervical smear or a combined cervical/vaginal smear for this test.
  2. Use the wooden spatula provided in the Calpath Pap smear kit. Do not use the brush.
  3. Scrape the lateral vaginal wall, and transfer the material to the glass slide.
  4. The M.I. cannot be performed on a cervical smear; if you wish to order a regular cervical Pap smear test as well as the M.I., then two separate slides have to be submitted – one from the cervix and one from the vagina.
  5. Complete the Calpath cytology requisition form per the instructions.

After collecting the specimen, please do the following:

  • Place the specimen in the Calpath specimen bag.
  • Place the requisition form in the side slot of the Calpath specimen bag.
  • Call Calpath for a pickup or place the Calpath specimen bag in the location where our courier usually picks up your daily specimens.