Loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP procedure) is used to remove abnormal tissue using low voltage electrified wire. It's often used to treat abdominal cervical tissue or to remove abdominal tissue high in the cervical canal. It’s often conducted after an abnormal PAP smear to determine if cells are precancerous or even cancerous.
Prior to the LEEP procedure, vinegar or iodine is applied to the cervix to make abnormal cells more visible. During the procedure, a small instrument, known as a speculum, is inserted into the vagina, then medicine is injected into the cervix to numb the area. The electrified wires are then used to remove the tissue.
The removed tissue is examined for cancer or other abnormalities of the cervical tissue. Often, only one LEEP procedure is needed to remove the abnormal cells. Should more abnormal cells develop, the LEEP procedure may need to be re-conducted.
After the LEEP procedure is conducted, most women can resume normal activities one to three days later. Mild cramping is common after the procedure, as well as a dark vaginal discharge for up to one week. Spotting can continue up to three weeks. It’s advised nothing is inserted into the vaginal for about three weeks, this includes tampons, douching and intercourse.
Although it’s rare, complications can occur. If complications occur, seek medical attention immediately. Signs of complications include a fever, bleeding that lasts longer than one week, heavy bleeding and pelvic pain. If vaginal discharge becomes foul smelling or yellowish, seek medical attention because this could mean an infection is present.