If you’ve had an abnormal Pap smear, we may suggest a LEEP procedure.
A Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (most often referred to as a LEEP) is one of our most common in-office procedures. We use it to gather tissue from the cervix to be tested for cancer. It’s also used to remove cancerous or precancerous cells.
But a LEEP isn’t just used after an abnormal Pap smear. We use it to diagnose and treat other conditions as well.
In this article, we’ll dig into greater detail on what a LEEP procedure is, when you would need one, and some of the most prevalent myths surrounding this procedure. Don’t let these myths prevent you from getting the care you need!
What Is a LEEP Procedure?
During a LEEP procedure, you will be given an anesthetic block with lidocaine. We use a thin, wire loop, utilizing an electrical current to cut away a thin layer of cervical tissue. This tissue will later be sent to the lab for testing.
Why Would You Need a LEEP Procedure?
One of the most common situations in which you would need a LEEP procedure is if you have had an abnormal Pap smear. In this case, a LEEP would enable us to gather cells for further examination to determine if you have cervical or vaginal cancer. We can also use it to remove cancerous cells. In addition, through LEEP, we can also detect and remove precancerous cells—cells which are not cancerous but will likely become so in the future.
But abnormal Pap smears aren’t the only situation in which you would need a LEEP procedure. It can also be used diagnose or treat :
- Diseases such as genital warts. Genital warts can be the result of an HPV infection. HPV can put you at greater risk of developing cervical cancer.
- Polyps, which are non-cancerous growths
Does a LEEP Procedure Mean I Have Cancer?
Having a LEEP doesn’t necessarily mean that you have cancer. That determination can only be made after the tissue is carefully examined in a laboratory.
How Painful is a LEEP Procedure?
We numb your cervix, so you shouldn’t feel any pain during a LEEP. Some women report feeling a pinch when the anesthesia is administered.
If, for any reason, you have discomfort, please let us know! We want to be sure that your LEEP procedure is as comfortable as possible.
Is LEEP Considered Surgery?
It is considered surgery. However, it’s important to remember that a LEEP does not use scalpels. Instead, it uses electricity to remove tissue.
Common Myths About a LEEP Procedure
What is a LEEP procedure? We’ve already provided some useful information you can use. We’re sure you’ll be able to dispel the following myths right away!
MYTH: A LEEP Procedure Automatically Means That I Have Cancer
As we mentioned earlier, a cancer diagnosis can only be reached after carefully examining tissue in a laboratory. While LEEP is used for detecting and removing cancerous and precancerous cells, the fact that you need to have a LEEP doesn’t automatically mean that you have cancer.
MYTH: A LEEP Procedure Is Painful
Some patients report feeling pressure in the area, but because the cervix is numb, you should not feel any pain.
MYTH: A LEEP Disrupts Your Menstrual Cycle
In actuality, a LEEP should not affect how much you bleed or when you get your period. Your cycle should continue as it did previously.
But if you have consistently abnormal menstrual cycles, that’s something you should mention to us. We go over these issues in more detail in our earlier blog about your period.
A LEEP Procedure is a Part of Our In-Office Services at CHOBGYN
By offering a variety of in-office services and procedures, we provide a solution that is more economical and convenient than having the procedure done at a hospital.
Because we use minimally invasive surgical techniques, you’ll have a faster recovery with less pain. We also have a board-certified anesthesiologist who can provide anesthesia services on site whenever it is needed.
We are your health care team, and we have come to know you throughout your appointments. Through your course of care at Chapel Hill OBGYN, we have taken time to understand your medical history and your concerns. Therefore, we want to continue to be by your side, providing the support and compassion you deserve.
CHOBGYN: Caring for Generations of Patients as OBGYNs in Chapel Hill and Durham
What is a LEEP procedure? For some patients, the mention of a procedure makes them a bit anxious. We understand that sometimes, patients may be worried. We want to assure you that there is no reason to be nervous before your LEEP procedure. Our expertise and experience are a part of why we were named the area’s best OBGYN practice in Indy magazine.
With two convenient locations, our OBGYNS in Chapel Hill and Durham want to be partners in your care. If you’ve ever had an abnormal Pap smear in your past—or if you’re overdue for your annual one—just contact us for an appointment.