What is the Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP)?
Loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) is a common practice used by gynecologists to remove abnormal cells from a patient’s cervix. Women with these abnormal cells may be at risk for serious conditions such as cervical cancer, making LEEP a very important part of the diagnostic and cancer prevention process.
About the Procedure
Patients undergoing a loop electrosurgical excision procedure are often a bit nervous beforehand. Although the name of this treatment may seem rather intimidating, the entire process is really quite simple and painless.
To begin, the patient will be asked to lie on their back and place the heels of their feet in the stirrups at the end of the examination table, just as they would do at a routine gynecologic appointment. Once positioned, your OBGYN will insert a speculum to widen the opening of the vagina enough to get a clear visual of the cervix. A colposcope will also be used to help magnify the treatment area. The area is then numbed using a local anesthetic so that the patient does not feel any discomfort during their LEEP.
The device used to extract the cervical cells consists of a thin wire with a loop around the end. Your OBGYN will treat any abnormal cells by wrapping the loop around them, and then using the electricity that’s passed through the wire to remove these cells.
LEEP Recovery Process
The entire procedure takes approximately 10-20 minutes, after which time patients are allowed to return home and continue with regular activities. Your OBGYN will have the removed cervical cells analyzed at our lab facility to determine if further diagnostic testing or treatment is needed.
What to Expect After LEEP
LEEP is a very safe and effective treatment option, though there are several common symptoms that women should be aware of following their procedure, including:
- Bleeding: Wearing absorbent pads can help to manage small amounts of bleeding after treatment, though if you continue to bleed, or are bleeding excessively, please contact Capital Women’s Care right away.
- Cramping: It is also common for the muscles in the pelvic to contract after LEEP, leading to mild cramping.
- Discharge: Women are likely to experience a watery discharge that is pink in color.
Along with excessive bleeding, patients should contact our office immediately if they experience clotting, fever, or severe pain.
Before the procedure begins, make sure that you address any questions or concerns with your OBGYN. It is important to fully understand the reasoning why a LEEP is being performed, and what sort of follow-up care will be needed once it is complete. Patients should also inform their physician of any medications they are currently taking that may impact their treatment, such as blood thinners. No other significant preparation such as fasting is required prior to LEEP.
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The board-certified OBGYNs at Capital Women’s Care have extensive experience performing in-office procedures including the LEEP procedure.