Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP) (cont.)
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LEEP can be performed in a doctor's office or clinic or in a hospital outpatient surgery department. The patient lies on her back on an examining table with the feet supported in stirrups (the position used to obtain a Pap smear). The doctor will use a speculum to open the vaginal walls, again similar to the procedure for a Pap test. Local anesthetic medication is typically injected in the area of the cervix (known as a cervical block). Sometimes, medications for pain control are also given intravenously or taken pre-operatively in pill form.
After the cervix is visualized, special solutions may be applied to the outside surface of the cervix to make the abnormal areas of tissue more recognizable. To remove the abnormal tissues, a low-voltage electrical current is delivered via a thin wire that is passed through tissues. To be certain that all abnormal tissue is removed, a very thin layer of normal-appearing tissue surrounding the area is excised. The area is treated afterwards with a chemical substance to help prevent bleeding.
The most common side effects of the procedure are mild pain and cramping that may occur over the first few hours after the procedure. Spotting and vaginal discharge may occur and persist for up to several weeks. Sexual intercourse and tampon use should be avoided for a time to allow better healing. Douching should also be avoided.
The removed tissue will then be sent to the laboratory for microscopic analysis by a pathologist to determine if the abnormal areas were completely removed. This analysis may take several days to complete.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/7/2016
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