What is a LEEP procedure?
A LEEP procedure, also known as a loop electrosurgical excision, is a treatment that prevents cervical cancer. During the procedure, a small electrical loop removes any abnormal cells from the cervix. LEEP surgery may be a treatment option if your doctor finds abnormal cells during a Pap test, colposcopy or biopsy.
Who is a candidate for LEEP?
LEEP may be used to assist in the diagnosis or treatment of the following conditions:
- Determine the cause of an abnormal Pap smear
- Diagnose cervical cancer or any precancerous changes in the cervix
- Treat precancerous conditions of the cervix
- Treat carcinoma in situ in the cervix
Your Mercy Health doctor will evaluate your case to determine if you are a candidate for LEEP.
What are the risks of a LEEP?
Common complications associated with LEEP include:
- Dark brown discharge from the vagina for a week after the procedure
- Spotting small amounts of blood for three weeks after the procedure
- Menstrual-like cramping
In rare cases, you may experience:
- Severe vaginal bleeding
- Pain that does not respond to pain medication
- Fever, foul-smelling or yellowish vaginal discharge or other signs of infection
- Premature delivery if you get pregnant after the procedure
- Trouble getting pregnant
What to expect during a LEEP?
In preparation for the LEEP procedure, you will lie on an exam table with your legs in stirrups. When in position, your doctor will follow the steps:
- Insert a speculum into your vagina and will use colposcopy to visualize the abnormal area
- Position an electrical wire loop at the cervix to remove the abnormal cells
- Seal blood vessels in the area to prevent bleeding
- Cells are sent to the lab for testing
The entire procedure takes approximately 10 minutes.
Recovery from a LEEP
In most patients LEEP removes all abnormal cervical cells. If the procedure does not remove all the abnormal cells, you may need to have LEEP again or have a different treatment.