Aunt Vadge: my LEEP procedure sample was too burnt to test – what now?

A cupcake has a razor poised over the top of it ready to scrape the cherry off the top, just like the LEEP procedure does to the outer layer of the cervix. Pink icing, blue cupcake holder.

Hi Aunt Vadge, 

I had LEEP surgery, and I went back three weeks after to get my results, and the doctor said that they couldn’t test the samples because they were to burnt. What to do now?

Age: 51
United States

Dear Burnt,

The removed sample being too burnt to test from a LEEP excision happens from time to time. The tool doctors use for this procedure has an electric current running through it, and works by burning tissue off sort of like a electric vegetable peeler.

This burning excision is in contrast to other procedures using other methods to get the sample off your cervix. There are many benefits to LEEP, but burnt samples are one of the pitfalls.

When the sample gets burnt, the tissue is unsalvageable. This outcome is unfortunate, but sometimes unavoidable because of the position of your cervix or vaginal canal. It’s not quite as easy as it sounds to get a clean sample using an electrified vegetable peeler as a tool! Complications do occur.

If you were suspected of having serious disease versus minor changes to your cervical cells, then your doctor will have more information for you as to what your next step should be. 

If the LEEP excision has removed all offending tissue, that could easily mean nothing more needs to be done and you are good to go, but you definitely need to get the all-clear from your doctor.

You should call your clinic and ask for advice, since your doctor is the only person here with all the information.

Warmest regards,
Aunt Vadge

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