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What Is Dysplasia? - Definition, Symptoms & Treatment

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Instructor
Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

Expert Contributor
Christianlly Cena

Christianlly has taught college physics and facilitated laboratory courses. He has a master's degree in Physics and is pursuing his doctorate study.

Potentially dangerous, tissue cells can transform through a process called dysplasia. Explore the definition, symptoms, treatment, and the well-known example of cervical dysplasia. Updated: 10/15/2021

What Is Dysplasia?

Kids make messes because they're kind of immature. Any parent knows that. As we mature and become adults, we tend to learn that messiness and disorganization are not a really good thing. And what do you know? Your body's cells are kind of the same.

Let unpack that. There's a type of cellular transformation known as dysplasia. Dysplasia refers to an abnormal and potentially reversible process where there's disordered growth and maturation of cells and the tissues and organs which they make up.

What this means is that, as a result of dysplasia within a tissue, the number of adult and mature cells decreases while the number of immature cells increases. Since immature means messy and disorganized and we now have more of the immature kiddos, dysplasia results in the disordered and messy growth of tissue. This is bad because dysplasia can, in some cases, lead to the development of cancer.

We're going to look at one famous example of dysplasia, as well as the signs, symptoms, and treatments associated with it.

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  • 0:04 What Is Dysplasia?
  • 1:08 Cervical Dysplasia
  • 3:10 Lesson Summary
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Cervical Dysplasia

Probably the most well-known type of dysplasia is a cervical dysplasia. This is dysplasia of the cervix, which is the lower portion of the uterus (womb) lying right next to the vagina (birth canal). Without treatment, cervical dysplasia may turn into a serious cancer: cervical cancer.

Let's look at the signs, symptoms, and treatment of cervical dysplasia. One of the problems with diagnosing cervical dysplasia is that it usually either carries no symptoms or manifests in subjective experiences only the patient can appreciate, such as pain. This means we need to look for testable signs of dysplasia under the microscope by collecting cells from the cervix in a procedure known as the Pap test, or Pap smear. If there are abnormal results from a Pap smear, a biopsy, where a small piece of tissue is taken out for examination under the microscope, may be performed as a confirmatory test to look for the signs and severity of the dysplasia.

If cervical dysplasia is found, then the type of treatment a woman may need to undergo depends on the severity of the dysplasia. In cases of mild dysplasia, it may actually go away on its own without any intervention. However, the patient should always follow up with their healthcare provider for repeat Pap tests to look for any changes.

In cases of moderate, marked, or severe dysplasia, or mild dysplasia that doesn't go away on its own, treatment options include:

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Additional Activities

Dysplasia: True or False Activity

This activity will help you assess your knowledge of the definition, symptoms, and treatment of dysplasia.

Directions

Based on the given scenario, determine whether the following statements are true or false. To do this, print or copy this page on blank paper and underline or circle the answer.

Donnie, a 10-year old, was accompanied to a nearby hospital and complained about a painful left hip. His medical results showed an abnormal growth of immature cells in the hip joint. Because of this abnormality, the socket portion of the hip does not fully cover the ball portion. Now, Donnie has an increased risk for hip joint dislocation.

True | False 1. Donnie's medical results suggested that he has dysplasia.

True | False 2. The type of dysplasia that Donnie has is known as cervical dysplasia.

True | False 3. Dysplasia is characterized by abnormal growth or development of cells in tissues and organs of the body.

True | False 4. Pap smear is a medical procedure to test for signs of dysplasia.

True | False 5. Light electrosurgical excision procedure helps treat dysplasia by using electricity to remove abnormal cells and tissues.

True | False 6. A hysterectomy is an operation that is done to remove the uterus.

True | False 7. During dysplasia, the number of immature decreases while the number of adult and mature cells increases.

True | False 8. A cryosurgery is a treatment option for dysplasia that is done by heating abnormal-looking cells.


Answer Key

  1. True
  2. False, because the correct statement is: The type of dysplasia that Donnie has is known as hip dysplasia.
  3. True
  4. True
  5. False, because the correct statement is: Loop electrosurgical excision procedure helps treat dysplasia by using electricity to remove abnormal cells and tissues.
  6. True
  7. False, because the correct statement is During dysplasia, the number of adult and mature cells decreases while the number of immature cells increases.
  8. False, because the correct statement is: A cryosurgery is a treatment option for dysplasia that is done by freezing abnormal-looking cells.

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