What Is a Cervical LEEP?

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  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2018
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A cervical LEEP, also known as a loop electrosurgical excision procedure, is a type of medical procedure used to treat a condition called cervical dysplasia in women. This is usually an outpatient procedure and may be performed either in a doctor's office or in a hospital setting. The cervical LEEP involves the use of electrical currents to cut away abnormal cells and tissue from the cervix. Mild discomfort and light bleeding may be experienced after the procedure, but a complete recovery usually takes only two or three days. Any questions or concerns about the cervical LEEP on an individual basis should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.

As the cervical LEEP can be a bit uncomfortable, some doctors may recommend that the patient takes an over-the-counter pain reliever prior to the procedure. It is important to check with the doctor before taking any medications, as it may not always be advised. A prescription pain reliever is not usually necessary after the cervical LEEP unless additional procedures are performed at the same time.


Before the cervical LEEP begins, the woman will lie on an examination table with her feet in stirrups, much like a normal pelvic exam. A device known as a colposcope will be used to guide the doctor to the area of the cervix that contains abnormal cells. An electrode is covered with gel and placed on one thigh to act as a return path for the electrical current used for this procedure.

After the patient has been completely prepared for the cervical LEEP, the procedure itself begins and usually takes 30 minutes or less to complete. A solution made from iodine and acetic acid is placed on the cervix to help the doctor clearly see the abnormal tissue. A local anesthetic is then injected into the cervix, and a wire electrical loop is passed over the surface of the cervix to remove the affected tissue.

The patient is sent home shortly after the procedure has been completed. There may be some mild discomfort and light bleeding for a couple of days after the surgery, but these side effects should not be particularly bothersome. Any severe pain or excessive bleeding should be reported to a doctor for further medical evaluation. The patient should avoid tub baths, sexual intercourse, and the use of tampons until cleared by the doctor to resume these activities.



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