A LEEP is a loop electrosurgical excision procedure used to remove some types of precancerous cells from the cervix, known as cervical dysplasia. This procedure is not required for all types of cervical dysplasia, and is typically only reserved for cases of moderate or severe dysplasia. The specific type of cervical dysplasia that a patient has is diagnosed with a colposcopy procedure.
During a LEEP, a heated electric current is passed through a thin wire. This wire “loop” is then used remove a small portion of the cervix containing the abnormal cells, or dysplasia. The goal of the LEEP is to treat cervical dysplasia by excising it. In our practice, LEEPs are performed as an out-patient surgical procedure with anesthesia sedation and a paracervical block, which consists of numbing the cervix with local anesthesia called lidocaine. The cervical tissue removed at the time of LEEP is sent to the pathologist to review, and your final follow-up plan is made based on these results. Following a LEEP, every patient will need AT LEAST a repeat pap smear every 6 months for 1 year.
Immediately following the LEEP, it is common to have light bleeding and brown vaginal discharge, similar to the coffee grounds discharge after colposcopy. It is very important to refrain from sexual intercourse until your postoperative follow-up appointment to allow the LEEP site to heal, and to prevent infection and heavy vaginal bleeding. If you experience fever, chills, or heavy vaginal bleeding exceeding 1 pad per hour, it is important that you call the office immediately.