If your pap smear or colposcopy has revealed abnormal cells in your cervix, called dysplasia, your doctor may recommend a Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP). A LEEP is one of the most common procedures used to treat cervical dysplasia.
The LEEP procedure is a 20-30 minute procedure that is typically done in the office setting, and allows your doctor to remove the abnormal tissue from your cervix using a fine wire loop with electric current.
Abnormal cells detected in your cervix during a pap smear or colposcopy may serve as early indicators or evidence of potential cancer development in the future, even though their presence does not immediately indicate cancer. It is advisable to take proactive steps and address these abnormal cells early through procedures like LEEP to prevent the progression to cancer.
In addition to treating precancerous cells, LEEP can also be recommended for the removal of confirmed cancerous cells.
Knowing what to expect during your LEEP appointment can help calm your nerves and prepare any questions for your OBGYN doctor.
A LEEP procedure is safe and can be done without general anesthesia. Complications are rare, and the benefits of preventative and early cervical cancer treatment greatly outweigh the risks.
As with any surgery, you may be at risk of infection or bleeding. If a large area of your cervix needs to be removed or if you need multiple LEEP procedures, your OBGYN doctor may check your cervix by ultrasound during future pregnancies. A LEEP may weaken your cervix, leading to early delivery of a baby (preterm birth).
Discuss any concerns you may have, including potential long-term side effects, with your OBGYN doctor.
During the LEEP procedure, you may feel some pressure when the speculum is inserted, and some mild cramping when the cervix is numbed. Your cervix will be numb for the procedure, so you may feel pressure in the area, but you should not feel pain. If you are not allergic to Advil or Tylenol, it is recommended you take either two (2) Advil or two (2) Tylenol one hour before the procedure.
You may feel cramping, similar to period cramps, for a few days following the LEEP procedure. Your OBGYN doctor may recommend taking over-the-counter pain relievers. You may also notice some increased discharge after the procedure as your cervix heals.
The following are ways you can prepare for a LEEP procedure:
If you get your period or are spotting, please notify our office. We are unable to perform this procedure if we cannot see your cervix. If you did not receive your expected period prior to this procedure, you must call and notify our office.
After a LEEP procedure, it's recommended to take it easy during the first two days, although engaging in light daily activities like walking should be okay. Returning to school or work within one to two days post-procedure is generally acceptable; however, it's crucial to pay attention to your body's signals and allow yourself enough time for rest as needed.
You should also refrain from intercourse and tampon use for two weeks.
You may experience brownish-black discharge and spotting for three days to two weeks following the procedure.
Call your OBGYN doctor if you experience any heavy bleeding (soaking a pad in an hour or less and passing large clots), foul-smelling discharge, fever (temperature above 100.4 degrees), or severe abdominal pain.
Your physician may ask you to make a follow-up appointment in two to four weeks to check your cervix. You will need a follow-up appointment in 6-12 months for a repeat pap smear or as specified by your physician.
Depending on your situation, your OBGYN doctor may suggest more frequent pap smears and HPV tests moving forward to ensure no new abnormal cells develop.
At Moreland OB-GYN, we are committed to providing women in the Waukesha area with compassionate, collaborative, and exceptional OBGYN care. We are proud to offer gynecological and obstetric surgeries, including LEEP procedures, in an environment where every patient feels safe.
If you have further questions about a LEEP procedure, please call us at 262-544-4411 or request an appointment online. We will be happy to speak with you.