The Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP) is done for evaluation or treatment after an abnormal cervical cancer screening. The LEEP is usually recommended after a colposcopic biopsy shows increased precancerous tissue changes of the cervix, which may eventually develop into cancer if left untreated. During the procedure, a small portion of the cervix, which contains the precancerous tissue, is removed and sent to the lab for further studies.
The LEEP procedure is done under local anesthesia and should be performed just after a women's menstrual cycle. Just as in a pelvic exam, a speculum is placed into the vagina to visualize the cervix, followed by the use of a small wire loop.This small loop is connected to an electrical current, which then acts as a scalpel to remove the portion of affected cervical tissue. After the procedure, a paste may be applied to the cervix to control any bleeding. The tissue is then sent to a lab for further study.
The most common complication after a LEEP procedure is bleeding. If bleeding is heavy, the doctors at San Francisco Women’s Healthcare can apply an additional paste to the cervix or perform a quick procedure to reduce bleeding. After the procedure, a patient can expect mild cramping, vaginal discharge that may vary from watery and pink to brownish-black. While the cervix heals over the next 3 weeks, patients should not have sex, use tampons, or douche. In some cases, women who have had the LEEP procedure may experience problems with future pregnancies. There is a small increase in the likelihood of premature births, low birth rates, or problems menstruating or becoming pregnant. Once recovery is complete, patients will follow up with the physicians at San Francisco Women’s Healthcare to discuss the results as well as additional courses of treatment. In order to reduce the likelihood of cervical cancer, women should have regular pelvic screenings, should stop smoking, and should use contraception to limit the likelihood of sexually transmitted disease.