LEEP stands for “Loop electrosurgical excision procedure”. It is a treatment that prevents cervical cancer. A small loop of electrical wire is used to remove abnormal cells in your cervix. This procedure may be done after abnormal cells are found during a Pap smear, colposcopy, or biopsy.
Your doctor may have recommended this procedure if some cells that don’t look normal are seen in a Pap smear or tissue sample from your cervix. This procedure is also recommended if the gynecologist finds anything unusual during an examination of your vagina. Your gynecologist uses LEEP to diagnose or treat abnormal conditions, including cells that may turn into cancer.
In Which Situations Is LEEP Applied?
LEEP can be performed when cervical or vaginal abnormalities are encountered during pelvic examination. In addition, it can be done when abnormal cells are found during the Pap Smear test. This procedure is also done to detect cervical or vaginal cancer.
Cells that appear abnormal but are not yet cancerous are called precancerous. These abnormal cells may be the first sign or stage of cancer that may develop years later. This procedure can also be used to help diagnose or treat the following conditions:
- Polyps (benign growths)
- Genital warts that can occur with human papillomavirus ( HPV ) infection, which is a risk factor for the development of cervical cancer (usually after the formation of warts in the genital area; to check whether a lesion occurs in the cervix or at the entrance of the vagina)
- Diethylstilbestrol (DES) exposure in women whose mothers took DES during pregnancy, as DES exposure increases the risk of reproductive system cancer.
How is LEEP Performed?
LEEP usually takes about 10 to 20 minutes. In most cases, this procedure is done in your gynecologist’s office. You will be asked to lie on the examination table and the gynecologist will use a speculum to open your vagina, as in the Pap smear test.
The gynecologist will look at your cervix and inside your vagina using an instrument called a colposcope. colposcope; It is an instrument that looks like a microscope and allows the gynecologist to look closely at the cells. The colposcope will be inserted into the opening of your vagina but will not enter your vagina.
The cervix can be cleaned and wetted with a solution known as acetic acid solution. This process helps abnormal tissues turn white and become more visible. You may feel a slight burning sensation. The next procedure can be anesthetic (the area needs to be numbed locally).
A type of forceps called a tenaculum may be used to hold the cervix for the procedure. You may feel cramping while the tenaculum is being applied. The wire of the instrument used in the procedure will be passed through the speculum and reach the abnormal tissues. One or more passes may be required. You may feel pressure and a slight cramp. It is very important that you lie still during the procedure.
There is usually very little bleeding, as the electrical current will block the blood vessels. Any bleeding from the site of this procedure can be treated with a topical medication.
What You Need to Know After LEEP
After the LEEP procedure, you can rest for a while before going home.
You may need a sanitary pad for bleeding. It is normal to have mild cramping, spotting and dark discharge for a few days. The dark discharge is due to medication applied to your cervix to control bleeding.
You may be asked not to douche, use tampons, or experience penetration for 4 weeks after this procedure, or for the period recommended by your gynecologist.
You may also have other limitations in your daily life, including strenuous activity or heavy lifting.
- Heavy and clot-busting bleeding
- A foul-smelling discharge from the vagina
- fever and chills
- severe abdominal pain
If the above symptoms are observed after the procedure, you should consult a gynecologist.
What Are the Risks of LEEP?
Procedure; As with any transaction, it carries risk. Common risks include:
- Changes or scarring of the cervix from removal of the tissue
- premature birth or miscarriage
If pregnancy is present and the LEEP method has been chosen, the procedure should be performed as early as possible at the gestational week. During the procedure, while the tissue is removed, cauterization (burning) is applied to the bleeding parts at the same time, so it is considered appropriate during pregnancy.
If the procedure is to be performed during pregnancy, this procedure should be done more superficially, which is not deep (different sizes of instruments are used for the patient and treatment during the procedure). This procedure does not have a direct negative effect on the baby.