Loop Electrosurgery Excision Procedure (LEEP)
WHY DO I NEED LEEP?
Cells on the cervix grow and shed all the time. Sometimes these cells change and become abnormal. This may be an early warning that cancer may occur. When tests show that you have abnormal cells on your cervix, your doctor may suggest loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP). LEEP is useful to remove the abnormal cells from your cervix.
HOW IS LEEP PERFORMED?
LEEP uses a thin wire loop that acts like a scalpel (surgical knife). An electric current is passed through the loop, which cuts away a thin layer of the surface cells.
The procedure should be done when you're not having your menstrual period. This allows a better view of the cervix.
In most cases, LEEP is done in a doctor's office or in a clinic on an outpatient basis. It should take only a few minutes.
The loop is inserted through the vagina to the cervix. There are different sizes and shapes of loops that can be used. After the procedure, a special paste may be applied to your cervix to stop any bleeding. The tissue that is removed will be studied in a lab to confirm the diagnosis.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS?
Although problems seldom occur with LEEP, there can be some complications. You may feel faint during the procedure or have some bleeding. Electrocautery may be used to control the bleeding. There is also a risk of infection after the procedure. These complications are rare and can be treated easily.
You should contact us if you have any of the following:
- Heavy bleeding (more than your normal period)
- Bleeding with clots
- Severe abdominal pain
- Fever (more than 100.4 F)
- Foul-smelling discharge
WHAT HAPPENS AFTERWARDS?
It may take a few weeks for your cervix to heal. While your cervix heals you may have:
- Vaginal bleeding (less than a normal menstrual flow)
- Mild cramping
- A brownish-black discharge (from the paste used)
For a few weeks after the procedure, you should not have sex or use tampons or douches. Call us if you experience any discomfort.
After the procedure you will need to return for follow-up visits during the year. At these visits we will check the health of your cervix. After 1 year of normal results, you may return to having exams once a year. If you have another abnormal Pap test, you may need more treatment.