Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure, LEEP, is an outpatient treatment used to remove cells or tissue from your vagina or cervix. A LEEP Atlanta specialist inserts a wire loop heated by an electric current into the area to excise tissue. Usually, the procedure is recommended when your tissue sample or Pap smear reveals abnormal-looking or unusual cells. LEEP can also be used to diagnose or treat pre-cancerous cells. Here is everything you should know about the procedure.
Preparing for Your LEEP Treatment
During your consultation for LEEP, your doctor will explain the procedure’s purpose, benefits, and risks. You can ask any questions you may have. You will usually not need to fast, but you should discuss your current medications and allergies with your doctor. You should also let them know if you are or think you may be pregnant.
Days before the procedure, your doctor may ask you to avoid having sex, using vaginal medications and creams, or using tampons. They will also schedule your LEEP for when you are not on your period. For pain, you may be asked to take a pain reliever 30 minutes before the procedure. It is advisable to carry a sanitary napkin to wear after your LEEP.
A LEEP is an outpatient procedure usually done in your doctor’s office. It should take no more than 10 to 20 minutes. After changing into a hospital gown, you will lie on the examination table with your feet in stirrups. Your doctor will open your vagina with a speculum and place a colposcope near – not inside – it. Think of the colposcope as a microscope that allows your doctor to get a closer look at the cells inside your vagina and on your cervix.
Your doctor may soak and clean your cervix with vinegar or iodized liquid to make the cells appear white and become easier to observe. You may feel a sting, but your doctor should numb the area with a small shot. Next, they will pass the LEEP through the speculum and into your vagina. This tool will enable them to excise abnormal tissue. How much they take out will depend on whether the procedure is diagnostic or a treatment.
You may feel some pressure or cramping during your LEEP. Feeling faint is also common but alert your doctor if you start to feel lightheaded like you could pass out.
You should be able to go home after your LEEP. The tool will close up the blood vessels to reduce bleeding, and your doctor will stop the rest by applying medicine to the area. Due to the medicine, you may experience spotting or release of a dark discharge for several days. Wear a sanitary towel.
Your doctor may ask you to avoid heavy lifting, strenuous activity, sex, using tampons, and douching for several weeks after your LEEP. They may also prescribe pain relievers to handle your pain. If a medication is not part of your prescription, avoid it, as some OTC drugs can increase your risk of bleeding. Contact your doctor if you experience the following:
- Severe abdominal pain
- Chills or fever
- Foul-smelling discharge
- Heavy bleeding or bleeding with clots
Abnormal cells in your vagina or on your cervix can be a sign of a serious condition. The team of experts at Ideal Gynecology uses LEEP to remove these cells for diagnosis or treatment. To learn more, call the Atlanta office to schedule a LEEP consultation.