When your Gynecologist suspects – possibly as a result of a Pap smear – that there are some abnormal cells in your cervix, they may recommend a Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure or LEEP.
“With LEEP I can remove the abnormal cells during an office visit, eliminating the possibility of more serious issues, such as cervical cancer,” says McLeod Gynecologist Dr. Brad Campbell. “The LEEP procedure preserves a sample of the cells, and we can send this biopsy to a lab for further testing.”
EXPERIENCING THE LEEP
The patient reclines on an exam table, their feet in the stirrups. The Gynecologist likely uses a speculum to open the vagina and administers local anesthesia to prevent pain.
The patient can expect the procedure to take from 10 to 20 minutes. (You probably want a relative or friend to accompany you and drive you home.)
The Gynecologist or nurse places a special protective pad on your thigh to disperse the electrical current. The “loop” of the LEEP is inserted and placed over the cells in question. Low-voltage electrical current removes a small piece of the cervix containing the questionable cells.
BEFORE & AFTER
Your Gynecologist may suggest some over-the-counter pain medication, such as ibuprofen, before your LEEP. Following the LEEP, mild pain and some discharge is normal. If bleeding is more than a normal period, contact your Gynecologist.
Most women experience no problems from their LEEP. You should avoid use of tampons or intercourse for about 3 weeks, allowing your cervix tissue to heal.
ACTION YOU CAN TAKE
The best way to avoid cervical cancer is an annual well-woman exam, while having a Pap smear at recommended intervals.
Sources include: McLeod Health, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, National Cancer Institute, US Department of Health & Human Services, Canadian Cancer Society