Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP) for Abnormal Cervical Cell Changes
The loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) uses a thin, low-voltage electrified wire loop to cut out abnormal tissue. LEEP can:
- Cut away abnormal cervical tissue that can be seen during colposcopy.
- Remove abnormal tissue high in the cervical canal that cannot be seen during colposcopy. In this situation, LEEP may be done instead of a cone biopsy. (For more information, see cone biopsy.)
LEEP is also known as large loop excision of the transformation zone (LLETZ).
A vinegar (acetic acid) or iodine solution, which makes abnormal cells more visible, may be applied to the cervix before the procedure is done.
How it is done
LEEP is usually done at your doctor’s office, a clinic, or a hospital as an outpatient procedure. You do not have to spend a night in the hospital.
You will need to take off your clothes below the waist and drape a paper or cloth covering around your waist. You will then lie on your back on an exam table with your feet raised and supported by footrests (stirrups). Your doctor will insert a lubricated tool called a speculum into your vagina. The speculum gently spreads apart the vaginal walls, allowing the inside of the vagina and the cervix to be examined.
Medicine is injected to numb the cervix (cervical block). If a cervical block is used, an oral pain medicine or pain medicine given into a vein (intravenous, or IV) may be used along with the local anesthetic.
What To Expect After Surgery
Most women are able to return to normal activities within 1 to 3 days after LEEP is performed. Recovery time depends on how much was done during the procedure.