Colposcopy is a magnified examination of the cervix. A colposcope is similar to a pair of binoculars with a light attached. In order to do colposcopy, the cervix is first cleaned with a mild vinegar solution. This causes the abnormal cells to be highlighted. The colposcope, which does not enter the vagina, is used to look at the cervix under magnification. When the cervix is viewed through the colposcope, areas of pre-cancerous change will look white and often have a mosaic or dotted appearance. It is important to be able to see the cervix thoroughly including the area where cervical cancer most commonly forms (transformation zone). Tiny samples of cervical tissue (cervical biopsies) are taken from any abnormal areas for a pathologist to examine under the microscope. A colposcopy examination usually takes about ten to twenty minutes to complete, although a gynecologist who is very experienced at colposcopy usually only takes several minutes to do colposcopy. In addition to looking at the cervix, it is important to also examine the vagina and vulva through the colposcope.