Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP): Before Your Procedure

Skip to the navigation

What is LEEP?

The cervix and its location in the body

Loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) removes tissue from the cervix. You may have this done if you've had a Pap test that shows tissue that isn't normal.

During LEEP, your doctor will put a tool called a speculum into your vagina. It gently spreads apart the sides of your vagina. This lets your doctor see the cervix and inside the vagina. A special fluid is sometimes put on your cervix to make certain areas easier to see.

You may get a shot of medicine to numb the cervix. You may feel a cramp when you have the shot. You may also get pain medicine.

Your doctor will put a device with a fine wire loop into your vagina. The doctor uses the heated wire to cut out tissue.

You may have mild cramps for several hours after LEEP. A dark brown discharge during the first week is normal. You may have some spotting for about 3 weeks.

You should be able to go back to your normal routine in 1 to 3 days. How long it takes you to recover will depend on how much was done.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

What happens before the procedure?

Procedures can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your procedure.

Preparing for the procedure

  • Tell your doctor if:
    • You are having your menstrual period.
    • You are or might be pregnant. A blood or urine test may be done to see if you are pregnant.
  • Do not douche, use tampons, have sexual intercourse, or use vaginal medicines for 24 hours before the test.
  • Understand exactly what procedure is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
  • Tell your doctors ALL the medicines and natural health products you take. Some of these can increase the risk of bleeding or interact with anesthesia.
  • If you take blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), or aspirin, be sure to talk to your doctor. He or she will tell you if you should stop taking these medicines before your procedure. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
  • Your doctor will tell you which medicines to take or stop before your procedure. You may need to stop taking certain medicines a week or more before the procedure. So talk to your doctor as soon as you can.

What happens on the day of the procedure?

  • You may eat or drink as you normally do.
  • Take a bath or shower before you come in for your procedure. Do not apply lotions, perfumes, deodorants, or nail polish.
  • You may want to take a pain reliever, such as ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin), 30 to 60 minutes before you have the procedure. This can help reduce any cramping pain.
  • Take off all jewellery and piercings. And take out contact lenses, if you wear them.

At the doctor's office or hospital

  • Bring a picture ID.
  • You will be kept comfortable and safe by your anesthesia provider. You may get medicine that relaxes you or puts you in a light sleep. The area being worked on will be numb.
  • The procedure will take about 15 to 30 minutes.

Going home

  • You will be given more specific instructions about recovering from your procedure. They will cover things like diet, wound care, follow-up care, driving, and getting back to your normal routine.

When should you call your doctor?

  • You have questions or concerns.
  • You don't understand how to prepare for your procedure.
  • You become ill before the procedure (such as fever, flu, or a cold).
  • You need to reschedule or have changed your mind about having the procedure.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

Enter L547 in the search box to learn more about "Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP): Before Your Procedure."