Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedures (LEEP)
Women who have a Pap smear showing abnormal cells in their cervix may find that their physician will suggest an electrosurgical procedure commonly called LEEP to remove those cells. This minimally invasive procedure uses a thin wire loop through which an electric current is passed to remove a thin layer of tissue containing the abnormal cells. The procedure is performed in a doctor’s office and seldom takes more than a few moments.
After a local anesthesia is administered, the thin wire loop is inserted into the vagina and to the cervix. Electrical current is applied to the loop and the loop acts as a scalpel to remove the abnormal tissue. The tissue is then evaluated to make or confirm a diagnosis. Other procedures can be used to remove the abnormal cells and include:
- laser treatment
- cone biopsy
However, the actual procedure used depends upon how much tissue needs to be removed and where the cells are located on the cervix. Recovery time usual takes several weeks. Like all procedures LEEP does have some risks so it is important to understand them before having the procedure.