The Papa test is completely painless, and it is performed by a gynecologist while the woman is lying on a gynecological table. By introducing the speculum into the vagina, the gynecologist displays the neck of the uterus and by using a wooden spatula and a wooden stick wrapped with a wool takes a sample from the back of the vagina, from the cervix part of the neck of uterus and from the cervix. The sample from wooden spatula and sticks is transferred to a small glass that is being immersed in alcohol for the purpose of fixing the cells and is painted with a special method in order to analyze microscopically taken cells.

In clinical practice, the PAPA test was introduced in the fifties of the last century by the American doctor of Greek origin Papanicolau, after which the test was named. Like all the other tests, it is not absolutely unmistakable, and in some cases it can be “false negative” or “false positive”.
In order to avoid false positive and negative results, it is necessary to follow the already mentioned instructions of behavior before the PAPA test, and the taking of the PAPA test and its interpretation should be carried out by experienced and highly qualified doctors of gynecology and cytology.

When the abnormal cells are not detected in the PAPA test, then the test is said to be “false negative”, and when abnormal cells are detected in the test, which are not, then the test is said to be “false positive”.

Even in cases where all the previous conditions are satisfied, there is a possibility of an error in the interpretation of the finding or the test may be inadequate for interpretation.

The most common causes of errors in the interpretation of the test or the inadequacy of the test for interpretation are the result of: inadequate acquisition of cells for analysis, lack of cells in smear, transfer of cells to glass in many levels, inadequate fixations and cell staining which can lead to changes in cells that can resemble to abnormal cells, taking a test in the time of menstruation, or in cases of severe inflammation when red cells and inflammatory cells can cover abnormal cells.

Regardless of the possible errors, the accuracy of the PAPA test is 75 to 80%, and in combination with colposcopy and histological analysis, the accuracy climbs to 95%.


Darko Jović

Word of doctor

Doc. PhD. Darko Jović

Gynecology as a branch of medicine that deals with diseases and the treatment of the female reproductive system occupies a special place in the life of every woman. In the S.TETIK clinic in a modernly equipped clinic we are able to provide you with the best service and care for you and your offspring.

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