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LEEP

Indications:  Loop Electrosurgical Excisional Procedure, or LEEP, is indicated when an abnormal pap smear and biopsies indicate moderate or severe precancerous cervical changes. 

Risk:  The most common risk in the first 2 weeks after LEEP is heavy bleeding.  Soaking through more than one pad or tampon every hour is excessive and should prompt you to contact your physician.  Other than bleeding, vaginal infection, risk of anesthesia, and damage to other organs is extremely rare.  LEEP has been associated with an increased risk, while small, of future pregnancy complications.  Most women will not have any problems, however, there is a small risk of preterm labor or birth due to a shortened cervix.  Cervical assessments for length during the beginning of pregnancy by ultrasound are common to ensure no risk in pregnancy.

Procedure:  LEEP uses a thin wire loop attached to an electric current that cuts away a thin layer of the cervix.  The procedure only takes a few minutes.  During the procedure, you will lie on your back and place your legs in stirrups like when you get a pap smear.  A speculum is inserted into the vagina to see the cervix.  A certain size loop is then inserted based on the amount of abnormal area seen.  After the tissue is obtained, the cervix is painted with a paste like substance to prevent any bleeding.            

Recovery:  It will take a few weeks for your cervix to heal.  While the cervix heals, you should avoid placing anything in the vagina like tampons or intercourse of any kind.  After the procedure, you may experience any of the following: 

  • a watery, pinkish discharge
  • mild cramping
  • a brownish-black discharge

You should contact the office is your bleeding is more than a heavy menstrual period or if soaking through a pad/tampon an hour.   

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