LEEP is a procedure for removing a type of abnormal tissue growth in the cervix called cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN). It uses a thin wire loop attached to an electrical unit.
The cervix is the lower part of the uterus that opens into the vagina. The uterus is the muscular organ at the top of the vagina. Babies grow in the uterus, and menstrual blood comes from the uterus, through the cervix.
LEEP is an abbreviation for loop electrosurgical excision procedure. It is also referred to as large loop excision of the transformation zone, or LLETZ.
This procedure is done to:
Alternatives may include:
You should ask your healthcare provider about these choices.
You should avoid sex or douching for 48 hours before the procedure.
It is best to have this procedure just after your menstrual period.
You lie on a treatment table and put your feet in stirrups, just as you would for a pelvic exam. Your healthcare provider then looks at your vagina and cervix through a colposcope, which is like a magnifying glass. Your healthcare provider puts a solution on the cervix to highlight the problem areas on the cervix. Once your provider sees the area where the CIN is, he or she numbs the cervix with a local anesthetic. Your provider then removes the abnormal tissue with the electrical cautery wire loop. The loop is used to scoop out the abnormal tissue in one piece and to seal any bleeding blood vessels. A medicated paste may then put on the cervix to further reduce the chance of bleeding. The removed tissue is sent to a lab for testing.
All you may feel during the procedure is a slight tingling. The procedure usually takes less than 5 minutes.
You can return to normal work activity or school the same day.
You may have a little cramping after the procedure. You may also have some minor bleeding or spotting the first day or so after the procedure. For about 2 weeks you may have a brownish discharge. This is a normal part of the healing of your cervix. Your cervix should heal completely within a month.
Your healthcare provider may advise that you avoid heavy lifting, tampons, douching, sexual intercourse, and hot tubs for 4 weeks after the procedure.
See your healthcare provider for follow-up visits and Pap tests as recommended.
Call your provider right away if:
Call during office hours if: