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Reactive Changes
Reparative Changes



Changes in the skin cells of the cervix which suggest that a healing process is underway or that the cervix is reacting to the presence of a virus or bacteria.

While these changes are not dangerous, their presence often provokes gynecologists to repeat the Pap smear at a sooner-than-expected time (such as 6 months, rather than 1 year after the previous Pap). The reasons for this increased surveillance are:

  • Reactive or Reparative changes make the Pap more difficult to interpret, so that the clinician cannot be as reassured by this Pap as he/she would by a Pap without these changes, and

  • Distinguishing between reactive/reparative changes and early dysplasia is difficult and the Pap interpretation may be incorrect.

Other gynecologists feel that in a patient with previously normal Pap smears, the first appearance of reactive/reparative changes is not cause for alarm and they will repeat the Pap at the next annual examination. They reason that should there be an underlying dysplastic process, the progression of Dysplasia is usually so slow that there is no particular advantage to repeating the smear sooner than the annual exam.


This information is provided by The Brookside Associates.  The Brookside Associates, LLC. is a private organization, not affiliated with any governmental agency. The opinions presented here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the Brookside Associates or the Department of Defense. The presence of any advertising on these pages does not constitute an endorsement of that product or service by either the US Department of Defense or the Brookside Associates. All material presented here is unclassified.

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