What is a LEEP Procedure?
Loop electrosurgical excision procedure, or LEEP, is a procedure to remove abnormal cells from your cervix or vagina. The procedure is performed by your doctor with the help of a small wire loop. The loop is heated by an electric current to make it similar to a surgical knife to remove cells and tissues from your cervix or vagina.
Indications for a LEEP Procedure
Your doctor may recommend a LEEP in the following cases:
- A cervical biopsy shows severely abnormal cells
- Your doctor finds unusual results during your vaginal examination
- To diagnose and remove genital warts
The procedure takes about 10 to 20 minutes and is usually performed under local anesthesia. Your doctor inserts a speculum inside your vagina for viewing the cervix clearly. An instrument called a colposcope may be used to magnify the tissue of your cervix. Iodine or vinegar solution is used to highlight the area that needs to be removed. Your doctor passes the wire loop through the speculum and removes a small sample of the cervix. During the process, you may experience slight cramping or may feel some pressure. Tell your doctor immediately if you feel severe pain or feel faint. After the cells are removed, your doctor may apply medication to stop any bleeding.
After the LEEP Procedure
You will be able to go home shortly after the procedure. You may experience mild bleeding or pelvic cramps for the few days that follow. This is normal. Avoid strenuous activities, lifting heavy objects, sexual intercourse, douching and using tampons for the first few weeks after the procedure.
Risks and Complications of the LEEP Procedure
As with any procedure, the LEEP procedure is associated with certain risks and complications which include:
- Giving birth to a premature baby
- Cervical changes or scarring in your cervix
Contact your doctor immediately if you observe the following:
- Heavy bleeding
- Bleeding with clots
- Foul-smelling discharge from your vagina
- Severe abdominal pain