During a Pap smear, cells from the outside and the canal of the cervix are retrieved by gently scraping the outside of the cervix. The Pap smear is performed to detect cancerous or precancerous conditions of the cervix.
Review Date: 4/5/2016
Reviewed By: Irina Burd, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.