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LEEP stands for loop electrosurgical excision procedure. It's used to treat abnormal cell growth (dysplasia). A fine wire loop is used to remove a small amount of tissue from your cervix. This can be done in the healthcare provider’s office. You can go back to your routine the same day. Schedule your LEEP for a time when you are not menstruating.

During the procedure

You’ll place your feet in stirrups. Your healthcare provider then inserts a speculum into your vagina. The speculum holds the walls of the vagina open to let the healthcare provider see the cervix:

  • Your cervix is numbed with a local anesthetic.

  • A mild vinegar or iodine solution may be applied to your cervix. This helps to highlight any dysplasia.

  • Your healthcare provider may look through a colposcope. This helps him or her to get a close-up view of your cervix.

  • The loop is inserted through your vagina and moved toward the cervix.

  • The loop is used to remove a small piece of cervical tissue.

  • A medicated solution may be applied to the cervix. This helps reduce bleeding.

View of colposcope in vagina
The loop is inserted.

View of colposcope in vagina
Tissue is removed from the cervix.

View of colposcope in vagina
Medicine is applied to reduce bleeding.

After the procedure

You may have a watery, pink discharge and mild cramping following the procedure. Also, the solution used to decrease bleeding may cause a dark, vaginal discharge for a few days. Don't place anything in your vagina or have sex until your healthcare provider tells you it's OK. Your cervix should heal completely within a few weeks.

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following:

  • Heavy bleeding or bleeding with clots

  • Severe belly pain

  • Fever

Online Medical Reviewer: Donna Freeborn PhD CNM FNP
Online Medical Reviewer: Heather Trevino
Online Medical Reviewer: Irina Burd MD PhD
Date Last Reviewed: 11/1/2019
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