CERVICAL RIB
cervical
This term can mean either relating to
the neck or relating to the
cervix
(the
neck of the uterus).
cervical cancer
See
cervix, cancer of.
cervical dysplasia
Changes in the surface cells of the
cervix
(the neck of the uterus) that may in
time become cancerous.
TYPES
There are three grades of cervical dys-
plasia: mild, moderate, and severe. They
are based on the severity of the changes
seen in cells obtained from a
cervical
smear test
.
Abnormalities can also be
classified
as
grades
of
cervical intra-
epithelial neoplasia
.
In m ild dysplasia,
abnormal cells may return to a normal
state without treatment. Severe dyspla-
sia,
left untreated,
may
progress to
cervical cancer (see
cervix, cancer of
) .
CAUSES
The cause is not known, but risk factors
include smoking and unprotected sex
at an early age or with many partners.
TREATMENT
Treatment depends on the severity of
the condition. For m ild or moderate
dysplasia, the abnormal cells may be des-
troyed by
laser treatment
,
or by freezing
at
colposcopy
(inspection of the cervix
with a viewing instrument). Alternativ-
ely, loop excision (surgical removal of
an area of the cervix) may be carried
out. If the dysplasia is severe, loop exci-
sion or
cone biopsy
are used.
cervical ectopy
A condition affecting the
cervix
(the
neck of the uterus) in w hich a layer of
mucus-forming
cells
that
are
more
characteristic of the inner lining of the
cervix appear on its outside surface.
There is no loss of tissue or ulceration
of the cervix. The tissue may, however,
be more fragile, and tend to bleed and
secrete more mucus, than normal.
CAUSES
Cervical ectopy may be present from
birth.
Other
possible
causes include
injury to the cervix during labour and
long-term use of
oral contraceptives
.
SYMPTOMS
Most women with cervical ectopy have
few or no symptoms. Some, however,
experience vaginal bleeding at unex-
pected times and may have a vaginal
discharge. The cervix has a fragile, red-
dened area on the surface.
DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT
The condition is often detected during
a routine
cervical smear test
.
Only women
with symptoms need treatment. Affec-
ted
tissue
may
be
destroyed
using
cauterization
(application of a heated
instrument),
cryosurgery
(freezing),
dia-
thermy
(heat), or
laser treatment
.
cervical incompetence
Abnormal weakness of the
cervix
(the
neck of the uterus) that can result in
recurrent
miscarriages
.
Normally,
the
cervix remains closed until the onset of
labour.
An
incompetent
cervix
may
gradually widen under the weight of
the fetus from about the 12th week of
pregnancy onwards, or may suddenly
open during the second trimester.
DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT
The condition is detected by a
pelvic
examination
or by
ultrasound scanning
.
Treatment is w ith a suture
(stitch)
applied like a purse string around the
cervix at about the 12th week of preg-
nancy. The suture is left in position
until the pregnancy is at or near full
term and is then cut to allow the
mother to deliver the baby normally.
cervical intraepithelial
neoplasia
Also known as CIN, abnormalities in
the cells of the cervix (the neck of the
uterus)
that may become cancerous.
The CIN grading system is used to dis-
tinguish levels of change in the surface
cells of the cervix. The term is applied
to biopsy (tissue) samples taken during
colposcopy
,
(inspection of the
cervix
with a viewing instrument) following
an abnormal
cervical smear test
.
Grades
CIN
1-3
broadly correspond to m ild to
severe
cervical dysplasia
in
the
cells
obtained from a smear test.
cervical mucus method
A form of contraception based on iden-
tifying days on w hich to abstain from
sexual intercourse and thereby avoid
pregnancy.
This
technique
involves
m onitoring the changes in the mucus
secreted by a wom an’s
cervix
.
(See
con-
traception, natural methods of
. )
cervical osteoarthritis
A degenerative disorder, also called cer-
vical spondylosis, that affects the joints
between
the
cervical
vertebrae
(the
bones in the neck). Cervical osteoarth-
ritis mainly occurs in middle-aged and
elderly people,
but
occasionally the
degeneration begins earlier due to an
injury, such as a whiplash neck injury
sustained in a road traffic accident.
SYMPTOMS
The main symptoms of cervical osteo-
arthritis are neck pain and stiffness.
Pressure on the nerves between affected
vertebrae may cause pain in the arms
and shoulders, numbness tingling and
weakness in the hands. Symptoms tend
to flare up from time to time with peri-
ods of m ild discomfort between.
Other symptoms, such as dizziness,
unsteadiness, and double vision when
turning the head, may also occur as a
result of pressure on blood vessels run-
ning
through
the
vertebrae
to
the
brain. Rarely, pressure on the spinal
cord can cause weakness or paralysis in
the legs and loss of bladder control.
DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT
X-rays
and other imaging procedures
such as
MRI
(a technique that produces
cross-sectional
or
three-dimensional
pictures of body structures) are used to
diagnose cervical osteoarthritis.
Treatment of severe neck pain and
stiffness
may
include
heat treatment
,
supporting the neck in a collar, and the
analgesic drugs
(painkillers).
Physiother-
apy
may improve neck posture and
movement and is useful when the pain
has eased. Pressure on the spinal cord
may be relieved by surgery (see
decom-
pression, spinal canal).
cervical rib
A
congenital
abnormality, w hich is of
unknown cause, in w hich the lowest of
the seven cervical
vertebrae
(neck bones)
C
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