What is LEEP?
Short for Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure, which uses a fine wire loop heated by an electric current to remove tissue & cells from the cervix.
This procedure is used as part of the diagnosis & treatment of abnormal or cancerous conditions in women.
LEEP uses a wire loop that carries a low-voltage electrical current to cut away a thin layer of abnormal tissue.
It’s typically performed after abnormal cells are found during:
How is LEEP done?
You will be asked to lie down on the exam table with your feet elevated in stirrups, just like when you have a Pap smear.
- Open the vaginal walls: The physician will then insert a speculum to help open the vaginal walls, which will allow access to the cervix. An acetic acid such as vinegar or iodine will be applied to your cervix to help make the abnormal areas of tissue more easily recognized.
- Remove the abnormal areas: After the area is numbed using a local anesthetic the physician will use the fine wire loop which will deliver a low-voltage electrical current while it’s passed through the tissues to remove the abnormal areas.
- Prevent bleeding: Finally, the blood vessels in the area are sealed and Monsel’s solution will be applied to prevent bleeding. The tissue is then sent to the lab for examination. Most women can go home 15-20 minutes following the procedure.
What can I expect after the LEEP procedure?
Many women experience mild cramping and pain for a day or two following the procedure. Spotting and vaginal discharge commonly occur for a few weeks after LEEP. It’s important to not douche or use tampons for several weeks following.
In general, women should wait 3-4 weeks after the procedure before having vaginal intercourse. This will allow for your cervix to heal & helps reduce the risk of infection.
How effective is LEEP?
LEEP has been shown effective 90% of the time and is just as effective as cryotherapy, laser treatment and a cone biopsy.
Is LEEP Safe?
As with any surgical procedure there are risks, complications may occur. Rare complications have occurred in about 1%-2% of women who undergo the LEEP procedure. Please speak to your doctor for more information about this procedure.
LEEP Procedure FAQ
What does LEEP abbreviation stand for?
LEEP stands for loop electrosurgical excision procedure. Its main purpose is to eliminate abnormal cells from your cervix. This is normally done with the use of a small wire loop, which is a tool charged with an electrical current. The current heats the loop, which allows it to act as a surgical knife.
What are the complications of LEEP surgery?
Gynecology LEEP procedure is considered effective and safe. However, it still carries several risks, including:
- Bleeding during or after the procedure
- Scarring on the cervix
- Difficulty in getting pregnant in the years after the procedure
- Sexual dysfunction
- Emotional changes
How long does LEEP surgery take?
Normally, the procedure takes approximately 10 minutes. Although, you will be in the operating room for around 30 minutes. You will experience little to no discomfort during the surgery.
How to prepare for the procedure?
It is recommended to schedule a LEEP surgery the week after your period ends. This allows your doctor to see your cervix clearly and better monitor any bleeding caused by the procedure. Keep in mind that if you are still menstruating on the day of the surgery, you will have to reschedule an appointment. Moreover, you should not take any medications that contain aspirin for five to seven days prior to the procedure as NSAIDs can potentially increase the likelihood of bleeding during the procedure.
Do I need to do anything during the recovery stage?
Typically, your doctor will make you aware of all the steps that need to be taken during the recovery phase. Generally, it is not recommended to use tampons, menstrual cups, or anything that is inserted into the vagina for around four weeks. You should also stay away from strenuous activity or heavy lifting for approximately a week following the surgery. For the purpose of easing any discomfort, you can take acetaminophen (Tylenol).
The information provided on this site is intended to educate the reader about certain medical conditions and certain possible treatment. It is not a substitute for examination, diagnosis, and medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health care professional. If you believe you, or someone you know suffers from the conditions described herein, please see your health care provider immediately. Do not attempt to treat yourself or anyone else without proper medical supervision.
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