LEEP excision (Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure)
LEEP (Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure) is a treatment for precancerous or cancerous cervical cells (high grade cervical dysplasia), which is most often caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). There are other methods of removing the affected cervical tissue, including large loop excision of the transformation zone (LLETZ).
LEEP allows the doctor to retain an intact specimen to test later, but sometimes this doesn’t occur as planned – the sample may end up too burnt to test or the lesions are hidden from access. Pregnant women are not permitted to undergo LEEP.
LEEP has the benefit of cauterising (sealing with heat) any open blood vessels, so reducing unnecessary bleeding.
Reasons why a LEEP excision may be performed:
- A colposcopy (viewing of the cervix) that was unable to provide full visualisation of the extent of the lesions
- Serious or extensive lesions
- A lack of correlation between results of other tests
- A previous treatment was insufficient, and a recurrence has appeared
How LEEP is performed
A LEEP excision is usually an in-office procedure using just local anaesthetic. Anaesthetic is injected into the cervix, with the woman lying on her back with her hips tilted and knees bent, as if she was with her legs in stirrups.
Imagine an electrified cheese slicer taking off the top layer of your cervical cells, leaving fresh cells underneath that are unaffected by disease.