LEEP stands for “loop electrosurgical excision procedure,” a state-of-the-art technique used to remove areas of abnormal tissue for further evaluation in a lab or as a treatment for genital warts. LEEP uses a loop of surgical wire that transmits a very low current of electricity to achieve precise results when removing (or excising) tissue.
LEEP is an in-office procedure that can be completed in about 15 minutes. The procedure begins similarly to a routine vaginal exam, using a lubricated speculum to gently widen the vaginal canal so the LEEP instrument can be inserted. To help prevent discomfort, the treatment area may be numbed with a local anesthetic before the procedure begins. In most procedures, a special magnifying instrument called a colposcope also is used to provide a clearer view of the treatment site. Once the area is numb, the LEEP instrument is used to carefully cut away the abnormal tissue, which will be sent to a lab for evaluation. At the end of the procedure, topical medication may be applied to control bleeding, depending on how much tissue was removed.
Yes, patients are allowed to return home after a very brief period of observation.
Some patients experience some mild cramping for a few days after their procedure, and vaginal discharge may continue for a few weeks. During the post-treatment period, discharge or mild bleeding can be controlled with pads, but tampons should be avoided to enable the area to heal and to avoid infection. Douching and sexual intercourse also should be avoided during this time. Depending on the extent of treatment, most women resume their regular daily routines within one to three days following LEEP treatment. Patients are provided with complete instructions regarding care and recovery before being sent home.
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