Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedures
The Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure, or LEEP, is performed by your doctor to remove any abnormal cells that may have developed on your cervix. Abnormal cervical cells could put you at greater risk of developing a serious condition like cervical cancer, so LEEPs are considered an important element of cancer prevention.
The procedure uses a thin wire loop that is heated by electric current to remove tissue and cells in the lower genital tract., which includes the cervix and vagina. A thin layer of abnormal tissue is removed, or excised, and sent to the lab for testing.
Once test results are returned, your doctor will discuss them with you and explain any needed treatment options.
Why might I need to have a LEEP performed?
A LEEP is performed if any vaginal or cervical problems are found during a regular pelvic exam or abnormal cells are discovered during a pap test. As mentioned above, LEEPs are also used to detect cancer in the vagina or cervix.
LEEPs are also used to diagnose and treat several conditions, including polyps and genital warts. Genital warts can be an indicator of human papillomavirus, or HPV, which is considered a risk factor in developing cervical cancer. It may also be used to treat certain sexually transmitted infections.
How to Prepare for a LEEP
We know that having any procedure scheduled can cause you to be nervous beforehand, but while the name of this procedure can sound clinical and intimidating, it’s a very simple and painless process.
You’ll be asked to lie on your back on the exam table and place the heels of your feet in the stirrups, just like during your regular pelvic exam. Your doctor will then insert a speculum into your vagina so that your doctor can use a colposcope to magnify the area to be treated.
A local anesthetic is used to numb the area so that you won’t feel any discomfort. Your doctor then uses the thin wire loop to remove abnormal cells.
How long does it take to recover from a LEEP?
The entire procedure should only take between 10-20 minutes. After the procedure, you can return to your routine, and we’ll contact you when the test results are in.
It’s a very effective and safe treatment, but you may experience a few symptoms after the procedure. You may have some vaginal bleeding, cramping, or discharge. Call our office right away if you have any concerns about your symptoms.
We are here to help. Send us an email or call our offices if you have any questions about the LEEP process. We are committed to being your trusted health partner.