(commonly abbreviated LGSIL) is a type of
abnormal growth of squamous cells on the
surface of the cervix. Squamous cells are flat,
scale-like types of epithelial cells. Epithelial
cells are cells that help absorb, move, and
distribute some of the fluids and nutrients in the
body. The cervix is a small, cylinder-shaped
organ that forms the lower part and neck of the
uterus. The uterus is a hollow organ in a
female's body where the egg is implanted and
the fetus develops.
There are low grade squamous intraepithelial lesions and high grade squamous
intraepithelial lesions. The terms "low grade" and "high grade" (in reference to
squamous intraepithelial lesions) refers to how abnormal the cells are and how much
of the cervix is affected. A low grade squamous intraepithelial lesion is one in which
the cells are not very abnormal and not much of the cervix is affected. A high grade
cells are very abnormal and much of the cervix is affected.
WHAT CAUSES LOW GRADE SQUAMOUS
Low grade squamous epithelial lesions are caused by
infections or healing from a minor injury. Sometimes, no
cause can be identified.
HOW ARE LOW GRADE SQUAMOUS INTRAEPITHELIAL
Low grade squamous intraepithelial lesions are usually
A Pap smear is a type of test used to detect abnormal changes in cells. This is done by scraping away
loose cells from the cervix, spreading (smearing) it on a glass slide, and examining it under a
microscope. A colposcopy is a visual examination of the vagina and cervix with a lighted magnifying
instrument, known as a colposcope.
The definitive way to diagnose a low grade squamous intraepithelial lesion is with a biopsy done during
a colposcopy. A biopsy is the process of removing living tissue or cells from organs or other body parts
of patients for examination under a microscope or in a culture to help make a diagnosis, follow the
course of a disease, or estimate a prognosis. A culture is an artificial way to grow cells or tissues in the
The above procedures are usually performed by an OB/GYN, which stands for obstetrician and
science that deals with the care of women and their fetuses during pregnancy and childbirth, and during
the events that come before and soon after birth. A gynceologist is a physician who specializes in
gynecology, which is the science that deals with the health care of women, including diseases and
normal physical care of the female reproductive system.
DOES HAVING A LOW GRADE SQUAMOUS INTRAEPITHELIAL LESION MEAN THAT CANCER IS
Having a low grade squamous intraepithelial lesion does not mean that cancer is present. Cancer is an
abnormal growth of new tissue characterized by uncontrolled growth of abnormally structured cells that
have a more primitive form. The presence of low grade squamous intraepithelial lesions represents
changes in cells that may occur before cancer is present. Thus, low grade squamous intraepithelial
lesions are sometimes seen by doctors as warnings that cancer of the cervix may occur at a later date.
It should be noted that the chances of having a low grade intraepithelial lesion showing up on a Pap
smear with invasive cancer of the cervix already being present is less than 1%. Also, less than 1% of
women with a low grade intraepithelial lesion that shows up on a Pap smear will develop cancer of the
cervix within the next 24 months.
HOW ARE LOW GRADE SQUAMOUS INTRAEPITHELIAL LESIONS TREATED?
Sometimes, low grade squamous intraepithelial lesions go away without treatment. The milder the
condition, the more likely it will go away without treatment. Some doctors, however, may choose to
remove low grade squamous intraepithelial lesions since it is possible for them to progress to cancer of
the cervix. The results of the colposcopy, and not the Pap smear, will provide the basis for treatment.
This is because a colposcopy (combined with a biopsy) is a more definitive test than the Pap smear.
The goal of treatment is to destroy and/or remove the abnormal cells on the cervix so that new healthy
cells will grow over the area where the abnormalities were present. Squamous intraepithelial lesions
can be destroyed by applying below-freezing temperatures to them, by using lasers, or by applying heat
and/or electrical currents. If abnormal areas of tissue need to be totally removed, a colposcopy is often
used as a visual aid during surgery. Removal of the tissue can take place during the biopsy or at a later
time if the patient desires.
It is important to note that if there is disease inside the canal (passageway) of the cervix, doctors do
not freeze the disease tissue. Freezing is generally used in small areas of abnormality (even if they are
severe) that do not enter the canal of the cervix. Freezing tissue usually only takes a few minutes to do
in the doctor's office. Healing from this freezing procedure will take about 3 weeks. A watery liquid will
usually come out of the vagina during the healing process after the freezing procedure.
Destroying tissue with laser or heated electrical current is usually more appropriate for larger areas of
abnormality. Larger abnormal areas (even if they are mildly abnormal) are more than an inch wide, more
than a half inch from the bone by the cervix, or in more than two quadrants of the cervix. A quadrant is a
division into four areas. Abnormal areas that enter the canal of the cervix generally respond best to
treatment with laser therapy or electrical current.
The abnormal cells that are removed are usually located at the transformation zone of the cervix. The
transformation zone is located in the outside of the cervix or in the canal of the cervix. The
transformation zone is the area where tall cells shaped like a column (known as columnar cells) are
transformed (changed) into flat cells known as squamous cells. It is in the transformation zone that
abnormalities develop. In general, any procedure that destroys squamous intraepithelial lesions on the
cervix cures the condition in about 85% of the cases.
WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF THE TERM, LOW GRADE SQUAMOUS INTRAEPITHELIAL LESION?
Low grade squamous intraepithelial lesion comes from the Middle English word "lah" meaning "low," the
Latin word "gradus" meaning "a step," the Latin word "squama" meaning "scale," the Latin word "intra"
meaning "within," the Greek word "epi" meaning "upon," the Greek word "thele" meaning "nipple," and the
Latin word "laesus" meaning "an injury." Put the words together and you have "low a step scale within
upon nipple an injury."