OB/GYN > About Us > Gynecologic Care > Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP)

Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP)

If you have an abnormal cervical cancer screening result, we may suggest that you have a loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) as part of the evaluation or for treatment. LEEP is one way to remove abnormal cells from the cervix by using a thin wire loop that acts like a scalpel. An electric current is passed through the loop, which cuts away a thin layer of the cervix.

A LEEP should be done when you are not having your menstrual period to give a better view of the cervix. In most cases, LEEP is done in our office. The procedure only takes a few minutes.

What to Expect

During the procedure you will lie on your back and place your legs in stirrups. We will insert a speculum into your vagina and provide a local anesthetic to prevent pain. The loop is inserted into the vagina to the cervix. You may feel faint during the procedure. If this happens, tell us immediately.

After the procedure, a special paste may be applied to your cervix to stop any bleeding. Electrocautery also may be used to control bleeding. The tissue that is removed will be studied in a lab to confirm the diagnosis.

The most common risk after a LEEP is heavy bleeding. If you have heavy bleeding, contact us. You may need to have more of the paste applied to the cervix to stop it. Although most women have no problems, there is a small increase in the risk of premature births and having a low birth weight baby. In rare cases, the cervix is narrowed after the procedure. This narrowing may cause problems with menstruation. It also may make it difficult to become pregnant.

Recovery

After the procedure, you may have mild cramping, a watery, pinkish discharge or a brownish-black discharge (from the paste).

It will take a few weeks for your cervix to heal. While your cervix heals, you should not have sex or place anything in the vagina, such as tampons or douches. We will tell you when it is safe to do so.

You will need to come in for follow-up visits. You will have cervical cancer screening to be sure that all of the abnormal cells are gone and that they have not returned. If you have another abnormal screening test result, you may need more treatment.

Source: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.