Loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP)
LEEP is a treatment for abnormal cell growth on the cervix called dysplasia. Dysplasia is not cancer but could lead to cancer if not treated. Your provider may recommend LEEP if tests show that you need treatment or further diagnosis of your cervix.
LEEP removes abnormal cells (dysplasia) on the cervix using a thin wire loop that has an electrical current passing through it. The tissue that is removed is sent to pathology. Pain medicine is injected into your cervix so it will be numb. LEEP is often done in the clinic as an outpatient procedure.
What should I know before my procedure?
LEEP is performed in our Procedure Clinic, please review these instructions.
- You must have someone with you to drive you home. You may have cramping.
- LEEP cannot be done during your period.
- Please call the clinic at 1-319-356-2294 to reschedule your appointment.
- Ask to speak to the colposcopy nurse.
- LEEP cannot be done if you are pregnant. Please use a consistent method of birth control.
- Tell the colposcopy nurse or physician if you may be pregnant.
- A urine pregnancy test will most likely be done the day of your appointment.
What should I expect?
- LEEP takes about 20 to 30 minutes.
- You will be asked to remove all metal objects, such as jewelry.
- You will have your legs in stirrups or supports, like you do for a pap smear. You will have a sticky pad put on your upper thigh.
- A speculum will be put into your vagina. The doctor will look at the cervix through the colposcope (magnifying lens) to find the abnormal tissue that is to be removed.
- Pain medicine will be injected into the cervix to numb it.
- You may have a rise in your heart rate, feel shaky or dizzy for a few seconds. This is normal and because of the medicines.
- Once the cervix is numb, the doctor will remove the abnormal tissue. This only takes a few seconds.
- Next a substance called Monsel's is put on your cervix with a Q-tip. Then the speculum is removed.
After you have LEEP
The cervix needs time to heal and to protect it from trauma and infection.
- The day of your procedure we suggest you to go home and rest.
- You may go back to your normal activities the day after you have LEEP.
- You may have some discharge. It can vary in color and consistency. It may be pink, red, or brown/black. It may look like a coffee ground discharge.
- You may have spotting or light bleeding off and on for 1 to 2 weeks.
- Call your doctor if you have heavy bleeding, such as soaking a maxi pad in 1 hour or less.
Discomfort or cramping
- You may have mild to moderate discomfort that feel like menstrual cramps.
- You may take pain medicine to help, such as Tylenol or Motrin as told by your provider.
Do not have sex, douche or use tampons for 3 weeks and discharge has stopped.
You may take a tub bath or shower.
Call if you have:
- A fever above 100º F (or 38° C)
- Heavy vaginal bleeding, such as soaking a maxi pad in 1 hour or less
- Severe abdominal pain that is not helped by over the counter pain medicines
- A missed period
You will get a letter from your doctor in 2 to 3 weeks with the results from your LEEP and recommendations for follow-up.