I have discussed abnormal pap smears in the past. When a woman’s cervical cells are abnormal, one of the treatment options gynecologist may choose is the Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP). This procedure removes abnormal cells from the cervix by using a thin wire loop that acts like a scapel. An electric current passes through the wire cutting away a thin layer of the cervix.
If your providers decides that your meet the requirements for this procedure, you will be scheduled to have this done in the office or an outpatient surgery unit. The procedure itself takes about 10 minutes. You will not be put to sleep and will be able to go home on that same day.
During the procedure your legs will be placed in stirrups as if you are getting a pap smear. A speculum will be inserted into your vagina. Local anesthesia will be used on your cervix to prevent pain so you will feel a pinch when this is given (it will be a tiny needle used to give a shot in your cervix). Once you are numb, the physician will insert the loop into the vagina to remove the abnormal cells which will be sent to the lab for further evaluation. After removal, your provider will apply a special paste to stop your bleeding.
Once you are done you will be able to return home or to work. You may want to take some Ibuprofin to alleviate cramping. You may also have a watery, pinkish discharge or a brownish-black discharge from the paste. It will take a few weeks for your cervix to heal so therefore you should not have sex or place anything inside of the vagina, such as a tampon, until you are cleared by your provider.
Heavy bleeding is the biggest risk of having a LEEP. You need to contact your doctor if this happens.
Studies show that women who do undergo LEEP are at increased risk of having pre-term babies who are low birth rates with future pregnancies. This is because the cervix has been compromised and may be unable to hold a pregnancy to term. For this reason other treatment options should be considered before a LEEP in women of reproductive age who wish to have future pregnancies. These decisions have to be made on an individual basis. Depending on your pap smear results, LEEP may be the first option for treatment.
Be sure to talk to your provider and bring up any questions or concerns about your LEEP. My blog is strictly to share information and not intended to diagnose or give personal medical advice.
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From your friendly neighborhood nurse.