1. What is Thin Prep smear?
  2. What are the advantages of Thin Prep smear?
  3. What is HPV virus typing (HPV test) and how is it done?

What is Thin Prep smear?

Thin Prep smear, that is a modified Pap test, is an innovative cytological test used to identify possible morphological modifications to the cells of the uterine cervix caused by bacterial, viral or fungal infections.

Thin Prep smear guarantees a much higher security and diagnostic specificity level compared to the normal Pap Test. The sample of cervical cells, collected with a special device, is immersed in a liquid and sent to a lab. The excess blood and mucus cells will be mechanically separated in order to perform a more accurate analysis of the cervical cells. For women aged 25-64 it is recommended to take Thin Prep smears every 3 years in order to diagnose possible altered cells early.

What are the advantages of Thin Prep smear?

Thin Prep smear has several advantages:

  • It allows the analysis of a greater number of collected cells;
  • It allows to recognize a greater number of lesions to the neck of the uterus;
  • Its results are reproducible (in case of a mistake it is possible to repeat the test using the same sample, thus avoiding a second smear);
  • It lowers the cases of uncertain diagnosis;
  • It allows using the collected cellular material for additional tests like HPV typing.

What is HPV virus typing (HPV test) and how is it done?

Thanks to the use of molecular biology techniques on the cytological sample used for Thin Prep smear, it is possible to perform the HPV test on the same sample to identify the presence of the virus.

This test allows to identify the viral genome and can be performed for both men and women.

In HPV testing, the cells of the neck of the uterus are analysed with molecular biology methods like PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction). The test directly researches sequences of the viral DNA and allows to identify the genotype. However, it is important to note that HPV infection can regress spontaneously and does not necessarily lead to cervical cancer.

In women aged 30+, Thin Prep combined with diagnostic in depth examination obtained through HPV test, constitutes the most effective way to identify signs of cervical cancer early.

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