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Loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) uses a wire loop heated by electric current to remove cells and tissue in a woman’s lower genital tract. It is used as part of the diagnosis and treatment for abnormal or cancerous conditions.
The lower genital tract includes the cervix and vagina. The cervix is the lower, narrow part of the uterus and the vagina connects the cervix and the vulva.
With LEEP, an electric current passes through the fine wire loop to cut away a thin layer of abnormal tissue. This tissue will be sent to the lab for testing. LEEP can also remove abnormal cells to allow healthy tissue to grow.
LEEP may be done when cervical or vaginal problems are found during a pelvic exam, or abnormal cells are found during a Pap test. LEEP is also done to detect cancer of the cervix or vagina.
Cells that appear to be abnormal, but are not yet cancerous, may be called precancerous. These abnormal cells may be the first evidence of cancer that could develop years later.
LEEP may also be used to assist in the diagnosis or treatment of the following conditions:
Your healthcare provider may have other reasons to recommend LEEP.
Some possible complications may include:
If you are allergic to or sensitive to medications, iodine, or latex, tell your healthcare provider.
If you are pregnant or think you could be, tell your healthcare provider.
There may be other risks depending on your condition. Be sure to discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider before the procedure.
Certain factors or conditions may interfere with LEEP. These factors include:
LEEP may be done in a healthcare provider’s office, on an outpatient basis, or as part of your stay in a hospital. Procedures may vary depending on your condition and your healthcare provider’s practices.
Generally, LEEP follows this process:
After LEEP, you may rest for a few minutes after the procedure before going home.
You may want to wear a sanitary pad for bleeding. It is normal to have some mild cramping, spotting, and dark or black-colored discharge for several days. The dark discharge is from the medicine applied to your cervix to control bleeding.
You may be instructed not to douche, use tampons, or have sex for 4 weeks after LEEP, or for a period of time recommended by your healthcare provider.
You may also have other limits on your activity, including no strenuous activity or heavy lifting.
Take a pain reliever for cramping or soreness as directed by your healthcare provider. Aspirin or certain other pain medicines may increase the chance of bleeding. Be sure to take only recommended medicines.
Your healthcare provider will tell you when to return for further treatment or care. Generally, women who have had LEEP will need more frequent Pap tests.
Tell your healthcare provider if you have any of the following:
Your healthcare provider may give you other instructions after the procedure, depending on your particular situation.
Before you agree to the test or the procedure make sure you know:
Bayhealth is Southern Delaware’s healthcare leader with hospitals in Dover and in Milford. Bayhealth provides a wide range of medical services, including cardiovascular, cancer, orthopaedics and rehabilitation, pediatrics, respiratory care, sleep care, surgical weight loss and women’s services.