What is a LEEP?
LEEP (also known as LOOP or LLETZ) is a technique used to treat pre-cancer of the cervix. LEEP stands for Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure. The procedure involves a wire heated by an electrosurgical generator that can cut through tissue like a scalpel.
How is the procedure performed
Most of the time the LEEP procedure is performed under local anaesthesia in the clinic. Sometimes it may be recommended by your doctor to have the procedure performed under general anaesthesia in the operating room. This is usually if you did not tolerate the colposcopy well before hand or if the abnormality on the cervix is large. Sometimes patients will also request for treatment to be performed under general anaesthesia.
What should I expect after the procedure?
You may experience “period like” cramping following the LEEP procedure. Usually it will settle down after a short time, but if not, simple analgesia such as Nurofen or Panadol can be safely taken
You may have a brownish vaginal discharge, or a small amount of spotting for 2-3 weeks after the procedure. This is normal and part of the healing process. Any heavy or persistent bleeding should be reported to your doctor or the clinic.
No sexual intercourse, tampons, baths or swimming or strenuous exercises (eg heavy lifting, cycling or running) for 2 weeks or until the discharge stops. This will allow the area to heal completely and avoid infection
If the discharge becomes offensive smelling visit your GP as you may require a course of antibiotics
Some patients find that their menstrual pattern is disturbed. Your next period may commence early, late or be missed completely. It may be light or heavy. If it is significantly heavier and longer than normal, or if you have a second abnormal period, contact your doctor or the clinic. Ensure you attend you follow up appointments
If you have any questions or concerns, phone us on 8514 0000
When should I be concerned enough to phone?
If bleeding becomes more than that usually experienced during a period, the clinic should be called (unless the bleeding is in fact your period).
Any severe cramps or pain not relieved by Panadol, you should ring the clinic or see your local doctor.
Other symptoms that should be reported to your doctor include any heavy vaginal discharge or strong vaginal odour.
What restrictions are there following the procedure?
For 3 – 4 weeks you should avoid having intercourse and do not use tampons. Normal work or school activity may be resumed the same day. Heavy exercise should also be avoided as well as swimming, douching and taking baths, saunas and using hot tubs or whirlpools.
When should I return for a follow-up?
Specific instructions will be given. In general the follow-up visit will be in 2-4 weeks just to make sure that everything is all right, and then your first surveillance visit will be in 4-6 months where you will have a repeat pap test and colposcopy. This visit is most important
Are there any long-term effects of the LEEP excision?
There are no long-term studies that have specifically evaluated this procedure with respect to fertility and childbirth. However, the effect (damage) on the cervix is identical to, and, in most cases, equivalent to that associated with other procedures such as cryotherapy (freezing therapy), laser therapy, electrocautery or surgical conization. With the exception of deep cervical conization, none of these procedures has been associated with infertility, pregnancy loss, or premature labour. Consequently, unless a loop excision is unusually extensive, it is likely there will be no increased risk of these complications.