Leep Procedure

What Is a LEEP Procedure?

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.

Why Is a LEEP Procedure Recommended?

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.

What to Expect During a LEEP Procedure

Knowing what to expect during your LEEP appointment can help calm your nerves and prepare any questions for your OBGYN doctor.

  • Before the procedure begins, you will be asked to sign a consent form regarding your understanding of the procedure.

  • The procedure will begin similar to that of a pap smear, with your feet placed in stirrups and the speculum placed into the vagina.

  • Using a small needle, your OBGYN doctor will numb your cervix with a local anesthetic. This anesthetic also helps reduce bleeding. Much like a colposcopy, your provider will then apply a solution to the outside of the cervix to make any abnormal areas stand out or become more visible.

  • Using a colposcope (a special magnifying instrument) your doctor will view your cervix.

  • Using a fine wire loop with an electric current, your provider is able to pass through the cervix and remove abnormal tissue. You may feel some pressure or cramping during this time. The electric current is used to seal the blood vessels so there is very little bleeding during the process.

  • The procedure itself is now done, and a small amount of medication may be used to reduce any bleeding from the cervix.

  • Your doctor will then send the tissue sample to the lab for examination.

Is a LEEP Procedure Dangerous?

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.

Will the LEEP Procedure be Painful?

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.

How Can I Prepare for the LEEP Procedure?

The following are ways you can prepare for a LEEP procedure:

  • Do not shave the pubic area before the appointment, and do not use any type of skin lotion on your legs on the day of the procedure.

  • Keep your eating routine normal. You should try to eat before the procedure.

  • You should also refrain from any vaginal activity the day leading up to the LEEP procedure, including tampon use, vaginal intercourse, inserting vaginal creams or medicine or douching.

  • If you are not allergic to Advil or Tylenol, it is recommended that you take either two (2) Advil or two (2) Tylenol one hour before the procedure to help with the mild cramping.

Can a LEEP Procedure Be Done if I Have My Period?

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.

Can I Resume Normal Activities After the LEEP Procedure?

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.

Will I Have Bleeding After the LEEP Procedure?

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.

When Do I Follow Up After the LEEP Procedure?

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.

Moreland OB-GYN Leep Procedure Services

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.

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