What Are the 5 Stages of the LEEP Procedure?


LEEP, or loop electrosurgical excision procedure, is a fast outpatient medical procedure performed by a LEEP Atlanta specialist to collect abnormal cells from the cervix. It is usually used as a diagnostic and treatment procedure for when your pelvic exam or Pap smear reveals abnormal cells. Doctors prefer it because it provides a much larger sample than biopsies and Pap smears. By helping your doctor collect abnormal tissue, LEEP can be useful in determining whether you have precancerous cells and, if so, begin treatment. Here is a look at what the LEEP procedure entails.

Initial Consultation and Tests

Like most medical procedures, LEEP begins with a consultation with your provider to determine your eligibility. During this meeting, your doctor will check whether you have conditions that can prevent you from getting LEEP. These include cervicitis or cervix inflammation and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). They will also rule out pregnancy because LEEP is not recommended for pregnant women. If you are eligible, your doctor will schedule your procedure for at least a week after the end of your period.

Preparing for LEEP

Your doctor will then give your preparation instructions to help make the process as smooth as possible and lower your risk of complications. They may ask you to avoid douching, using vaginal creams, or having sex for at least 24 hours before your procedure. They may also request that you carry sanitary napkins to wear after LEEP and that you take a pain reliever half an hour before the procedure.

LEEP Procedure (Creating Visibility)

On the day of the procedure, a technician will ask you to lie on the exam table and place your feet in stirrups. They will place grounding pads on your thighs to protect you from electric shock, then use a speculum to widen your cervical opening. Your doctor will apply a solution to your cervix to increase the visibility of abnormal cells, viewing them through a colposcope placed near your vaginal opening.

Numbing and Tissue Removal

Before LEEP begins, your doctor will apply a local anesthetic to your cervix to numb your tissues. The injection may cause your heart rate to quicken, your ears to ring, and your tongue to tingle, but this should go away in a few minutes. Once you are sufficiently numb, your doctor will insert a thin, electrically charged wire loop through the speculum into your cervix. You will need to remain perfectly still as they cut a thin tissue layer from your cervix.

Post Procedure

As the tissue sample is sent to the lab for testing, your doctor will treat the treatment area with a medicated paste to prevent or stop bleeding. You may feel lightheaded for a few minutes and can rest in your doctor’s office until you feel better. This often takes about half an hour, after which you can drive home. Your doctor will give you specific aftercare instructions to help in your recovery.

Schedule Your LEEP Procedure

Abnormal cells in your cervix are not always something to worry about. But, they can be precancerous or cancerous. If your doctor notices any, they may recommend a LEEP procedure to determine if you have something to worry about. LEEP takes about 20 minutes, and you can fully recover in about a month. If you think you need one, contact a certified provider today to schedule a consultation.

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