LEEP (Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure)
The LEEP is a procedure to remove abnormal or precancerous areas of the cervix. The word LEEP stands for loop electrosurgical excision procedure. This procedure uses a small wire loop that is attached to an electrical current to treat abnormalities of the cervix. This can be done in an office setting but is typically performed in an outpatient operating room.
The LEEP is the next step after your pap screen is abnormal and a magnified visualization of your cervix has been performed (a colposcopy). Biopsies of your cervix, done during the colposcopy, identify where on your cervix the problem exists. The LEEP removes this abnormal tissue to help stop the tissue from developing into cervical cancer.
The LEEP is a shaved sample of the cervix. Imagine if you were to use a small melon ball scoop to take a small curve of melon. The LEEP is similar but is done with a small wire and electric current.
The LEEP will often remove the problem and provide your doctor with more tissue to better assess your cervix.
The procedure is best performed when you are not on your menstrual cycle. Bleeding should steadily decrease over a few weeks following the LEEP. A rest period from sex and exercise is recommended for up to 4 weeks, depending on the healing of your cervix. Scarring or weakening of your cervix is uncommon and can be discussed with your doctor.
You should return to see your doctor to monitor healing and discuss the results of the tissue sample removed. Follow-up Pap screening will be needed and should be discussed with your doctor as part of your care.
The LEEP is a very effective tool that can treat most of the precancerous problems of the cervix.